Around the NFC West: Debating Rams' makeover
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Tim Klutsarits of examiner.com thinks the Rams' decisision to release Pisa Tinoisamoa was a mistake. Klutsarits: "I understand the want, and the need, for a head coach to bring in players that are comfortable with his system or fit his system better than the previous personnel. But I have seen this backfire with too many coaches because they become to enamoured with 'my guy' instead of realizing that they have some legitimate talent on the roster."
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if the Rams' roster overhaul might affect tight end Joe Klopfenstein and cornerback Tye Hill. Miklasz: "If you are a Ram age 30 or older or in your late 20s, watch out ... the bosses are probably looking to replace you unless you're playing very well and on a consistent basis. And this needed to be done. When a team has lost 27 of its last 32 games, a good scrubbing and aggressive housecleaning is in order. I don't believe I'm not overstating the Devaney-Spags desire to go with the youngbloods. A perfect example is the wide receiver position. The Rams are going with the kids."
VanRam of Turf Show Times won't argue too hard with King's No. 30 ranking for the Rams, although he differs with King's assessment that general manager Billy Devaney could be at risk for losing his job after not drafting Mark Sanchez. VanRam: "Firing Devaney? That seems unlikely. Devaney has the unenvious task of righting a ship that 's been headed in the wrong direction for years. Not only was this metaphorical ship heading in the wrong direction, it was woefully neglected too. So, he's got some leash. A new ownership group is unlikely. Yes, it's always a possibility and rumors like this will persist for a team that hasn't sold many tickets in a few seasons and has been through a surprise ownership transfer like the Rams have, but we do know that current majority owner Chip Rosenbloom is not actively shopping the team."
Will Brinson of sportsradiointerviews.com summarizes Alex Smith's comments to KNBR late last week. Audio here. Smith on people calling him a bust: "I'd definitely say that when I was younger it's something I thought about. But I think looking back now I think I've really grown and changed. I understand what it is but at this point I'm out there playing for my teammates and playing for myself, I'm not worried about the fans and trying to prove myself at this point. I've gone through enough now to know that."
Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind asks whether the Cardinals can revive their running game with Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower getting the carries. Hawkwind: "One common factor in each of the Cardinals first three playoff games was that they held significant leads in each game and thus were able to run the ball [averaged 33 carries per game] more than they did in the regular season, regardless of the results of each run. Too often the regular season, especially late in the year, the Cards would fall behind by double digit points before halftime and would be forced to abandon the run for large stretches of the game, if not entirely."
Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 solicits votes for the best defensive tackle in Cardinals history.
David Fucillo of Niners Nation wonders whether the 49ers' strong finish last season will carry over to the 2009 season, noting that a 2-1 finish to the 2006 season meant nothing in 2007. Sometimes an immature team mistakes a strong finish as evidence of its arrival. I think that happened to the 49ers heading into the 2007 season.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune thinks Peter King's No. 19 ranking for the Seahawks is on the low side. Williams: "I would have put the Seahawks in the top 15, based on all of the offseason moves. But I think King is right about saying Seattle's season will hinge on whether or not quarterback Matt Hasselbeck can stay healthy."
Rob Staton of Seahawks Draft Blog explains why he thinks Seahawks rookie Deon Butler will enjoy a strong 2009 season. Staton: "Butler explodes in and out of his breaks and shows a real ability to get open. There's a reason he broke Bobby Engram's Penn State receptions record [179 catches, 2771 yards, 22 TDs]. He flashes the ability to make great catches but shows occasional inconsistency, yet nothing out of the ordinary for a young receiver. For a relatively small man, he's combative in his blocks and shows the desire you want to see from a wideout coming into the league."
Chris Sullivan of Seahawk Addicts follows Staton's piece by predicting 22 catches for 378 yards and three touchdowns for Butler.