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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Around the NFC West: Rams shutter practice


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch outlines possible training camp sites for the Rams, who will not return to Concordia University this summer. Also, Steve Spagnuolo has become the first coach in St. Louis Rams history to shut out reporters from watching full minicamp practices. Every coach has his style, but the only championship coach in St. Louis Rams history -- Dick Vermeil -- was also the most accommodating. I once saw Vermeil seek out a reporter in a media workroom at an NFL owners' meeting, just to make sure a beat reporter had gotten the access he needed. 

Also from Thomas: Orlando Pace would be reunited with former Rams defensive coordinator Lovie Smith if he took a job with the Bears.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com reports from the first day of the Cardinals' 2009 offseason conditioning program. It's a chance for new teammates to meet one another and see which ones are willing to work the hardest. New cornerback Bryant McFadden: "It develops team chemistry and team unity. It's a big part of being successful, being around in the offseason and getting to know your teammates."

Peter King of SI.com suggests Anquan Boldin's agent might be able to pressure the Cardinals into a trade through "guerrilla" tactics. King: "If the Cards think it's going to be tense with Boldin, with more problems at training camp like last year, they're going to have to think seriously of auctioning Boldin and spending the money on Karlos Dansby long-term." On the other hand, signing Dansby to a long-term deal would actually create cap room that could be used to re-sign Boldin.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat clarifies an earlier report by saying the 49ers have yet to meet with draft prospect Michael Oher. He also expects Michael Crabtree and B.J. Raji to visit the 49ers.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider watched 2007 Steelers-Chargers and Steelers-49ers tape to see how a healthy Marvel Smith handles himself. Quite ably, it turns out. As Lynch saw things, Smith often handled Shawne Merriman.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Smith grew up a Raiders fan. According to Smith, his fan allegiances vanished once he made it to the NFL.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the Cowboys listed Aug. 29 as the date for the 49ers-Cowboys game at the Cowboys' new stadium.

David Fucillo of Niners Nation sees modest upside and very little downside in the 49ers' offseason moves to date.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune provides a positional roster breakdown for the Seahawks. At receiver, he thinks Jordan Kent and Courtney Taylor could have an edge over Logan Payne and Ben Obomanu. Of the four, Obomanu enjoyed the strongest training camp last season. He spent the season on injured reserve.

Michael Steffes of Seahawk Addicts wonders how serious the Seahawks might be about Ken Lucas after the Chicago Sun-Times suggested Seattle might have interest. Seattle is not going to pursue Lucas with a lucrative offer, but I do think the Seahawks would sign him to a modest deal if Lucas were willing to compete for playing time. 

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times explains the player grading scale Seattle uses for draft prospects. O'Neil: "The Seahawks use a grading scale that ranges from 1 up through a perfect 10. However, the highest grade [general manager Tim] Ruskell's teams have ever applied is an eight, which he affixed to Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders and Troy Aikman. A rating of a 5.9 translates to a solid starter. A grade of 6 or higher is what the Seahawks equate to an impact player."