Around the NFC West: Kolb a QB fit for Cards?

Catching up with the latest happenings of the 49ers' three divisional rivals in the NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals


If the pundits are correct, then Philadelphia backup Kevin Kolb is likely headed to Arizona once the moratorium on trades is lifted, probably for a couple of second-round draft choices. There are still some concerns about Kolb among Arizona coaches.

They note that Kolb, who has indicated that he would prefer to be dealt rather that sit behind Vick for another year – and for whom the Eagles need to net a return, rather than just allow him to depart in free agency in 2012 – has thrown more interceptions (14) than touchdown passes (11) in his brief playing time.

They wonder about his decision-making. But mostly the Cardinals' brass wonders if Kolb is the right fit for coach Ken Whisenhunt's offense.

Kolb averaged only 6.46 per pass attempt in his five starts in 2010. Until last season, when the Cardinals were forced to play quarterback roulette and started a pair of rookies at various times, the Arizona passing game averaged over 7.0 yards per attempt under Whisenhunt. The number dropped precipitously to a paltry 5.81 yards in 2010, but, again, there were mitigating circumstances.

In theory at least, the Arizona passing design is more vertical than that in Philadelphia, takes some pages from the Mike Martz passing game and expects quarterbacks to drive the ball into the intermediate and deep windows with accuracy.

At age 27 (in August), Kolb could solve the Cardinals' quarterback problem for a long time if he's the right guy. The Cards, who in a perfect world likely would pursue a veteran such as Marc Bulger, just have to convince themselves he's the right guy.

One thing is clear: the Cardinals will do something. Said general manager Rod Graves, "With respect to the quarterback question, which continually arises, we've decided as an organization that we are going to be aggressive. "We are expecting at some point, or believing, that we will have a free-agency period, an opportunity to discuss trades, and we are looking at those avenues."

Derek Anderson isn't back and the other quarterbacks on the roster are John Skelton, Max Hall and Richard Bartel. When asked if he was comfortable with Skelton as a starter or backup, Whisenhunt said, "After you go 5-11, I'm not comfortable with anybody we had playing that position. You have to weigh your opportunities in the draft against other opportunities. It's a complete process. It's not an isolated process."

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About 30 Cardinals players have been at workouts this week at Arizona State University, and center Lyle Sendlein explained some of the issues they have to deal with.

After Sendlein put seven athletic sandals on the playing field, he said, "These represent defensive players. It's like I'm a kid playing football in the backyard again."

Still, work is being done, and that's what important. Several players traveled from out of town to be there. Said second-year quarterback John Skelton, "We're doing a lot of (team-specific) stuff, while other players are sitting on their couches."

Varying numbers of players have been working out over the last month. Former Cardinals receivers coach Jerry Sullivan came from Austin, Tex., thanks to Fitzgerald, to help.

Said Sullivan, who was San Francisco's receivers coach the past six seasons, "This is good; they need the structure. These guys haven't been down this road before. They need to be in the right mind when they go to camp."

St. Louis Rams


Linebacker James Laurinaitis made an appearance on NFL Network with Steve Wyche and Bucky Brooks and said another player-organized "minicamp" will be held in Arizona this week from Thursday through Sunday.

When the team had workouts at Lindenwood the week of May 23, it was reported there would be more workouts in Arizona in June.

Wyche wrote that, "Not all of the work will be on field either. (Ron) Bartell, Laurinaitis and other players have video of previous years' games, and players will get the chance to break down film during the minicamp. Laurinaitis stressed the importance of getting as much film and class work done now so players will be ready when the lockout ends.

"Laurinaitis added that quarterback Sam Bradford has plays from new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' playbook but without being coached how McDaniels wants the plays to be run, there is only so much to be gained.

"Laurinaitis compared what offensive players are going through in trying to learn a new offense during the lockout to learning Spanish from an English-Spanish dictionary. Words can be learned, but to understand the language and speak it fluently, it has to be taught and spoken frequently, Laurinaitis said."

Also this week, Rams defensive tackle Fred Robbins is hosting the team's defensive linemen in Florida for workouts. Robbins said rookie defensive end Robert Quinn is expected to attend.

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Rams wide receiver Mardy Gilyard's agent denied a rumor that his client asked for a trade.

"never requested a trade," agent Andy Simms tweeted last week in response to a rumor from ESPN St. Louis' Rick Venturi, who cited that Gilyard hasn't attended player workouts. The Rams did use third- and fourth-round picks on receivers in April's NFL Draft, but Gilyard has also been recovering from offseason wrist surgery, according to ProFootballTalk.com.

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After the Rams selected safety Jermale Hines in the draft, coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney joked about adding another Ohio State player to the roster.

Speaking of Buckeye James Laurinaitis, the Rams' middle linebacker, Spagnuolo said, "I didn't want to listen to him yell at me because we didn't take an Ohio State guy, right?"

Said Devaney, "We started panicking a little bit. We realized it was getting late in the day and we hadn't added a Buckeye to the defense, so we thought we'd better not waste anymore time."

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The draft ended without the Rams adding more depth behind running back Steven Jackson, one of the NFL's most overworked backs during the past five seasons.

Said Spagnuolo, "That's been in the discussion, and then you sit there and say, 'OK, here's where we're at. Which one do we want to take now?' You can't get them, whatever the 'needs' are, if somebody has a number on them, it's hard to get them all filled in a draft. That's why you have free agency and you have trades. I know Billy and the staff and everybody is doing their best job to get good football players."

Said Devaney, "Hopefully we get to the point – I think we are – we're not that far off that we go into a draft and we can be more position specific. We still have areas that we have to fill, and we're not going to do it all in seven rounds of a draft. That's just the reality of it. Fortunately, we're not kicking off next Sunday. We have whatever needs that aren't filled these next couple rounds and whatever we don't get in this draft, there's other ways to go about filling those needs, and we still realize what they are and what we have to do."

Asked if they hoped to get a running back in the draft, Devaney said, "No, we never really said we have to. If it happened, it happened. It was probably close a couple of times and we didn't force it, like, 'Gosh, we better reach for this guy because we have to have a running back.' There were running backs that we were thinking about taking and they went before our next pick came up. But we didn't react by saying, 'OK, we lost the back. Now we've got to drop down in value in this round and take a back no matter what if he doesn't warrant going there.' It didn't work out."

Seattle Seahawks


The Seattle Seahawks gathered at the indoor facility on the University of Washington campus for an informal workout June 2. It was the biggest gathering after a series of smaller workouts began two months ago, according to The Seattle Times.

The workout was organized by running back Justin Forsett, and about 35-40 players were on hand, including players under contract, some scheduled to become free agents and former Huskies Mason Foster and Nate Williams.

Among the attendees were quarterbacks Charlie Whitehurst and Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck will be a free agent when the lockout ends, and Whitehurst is the only quarterback currently under contract.

"Camaraderie builds when players have to take ownership for things when the coaches aren't around," Hasselbeck told the Times. "This year what's been a positive is the brotherhood of NFL football that has come together."

The workouts have been open to all players, and have at times included former Husky and first-round pick of the Tennessee Titans Jake Locker.

While the workouts are building camaraderie, they're not real intense. The players are in shorts and T-shirts because no one wants to get hurt – players are responsible for their own injuries during the lockout.

"That's the other danger right now," Hasselbeck told the Times. "We've all signed waivers with the University of Washington. That's been our biggest hurdle is getting people to let us use their field.

Among the other notable Seahawks taking part have been linebacker Aaron Curry and defensive backs Jordan Babineaux, Kelly Jennings and Lawyer Milloy.

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Wide receiver Mike Williams resurrected his career in 2010 with the Seahawks, and a big reason he reported in shape. He says he has learned his lesson.

He knows with the lockout continuing, there are those believing he will get out of shape again.

Said Williams, "This whole offseason, everyone's been saying, 'Oh, all this time off and his attitude, he's going to be fat again.' Well, good luck with that. I'm here having a good time and let's get back to work."

Having a good time was a reference to his workouts. Williams said he has been doing about six hours of cardio a day.

He does admit, however, that the lockout is getting tiresome.

"When you find yourself going to two movies in the same day before night time, that's when you're bored. When you go see Kung Fu Panda 2 and Fast Five in the same day before 7 p.m., you might be a little bored."

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Hasselbeck said he was a little miffed when the team distributed playbooks during the one-day lifting of the lockout.

Never mind that Hasselbeck is unsigned. He told 710 ESPN Radio in Seattle, "I didn't get one. It definitely hurt my feelings, but it's alright because all my teammates gave me theirs. So it worked out. It worked out fine."

It remains to be seen whether talks for a new contract will work out fine.

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Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane wonders what his future is with the team.

Mebane has four accrued seasons, which would make him restricted free agent if the league eventually plays the 2011 season under last season's rules. He was tendered by the team before the lockout, but at the lowest level.

"I feel like I wasn't in their plans," he told the Tacoma News Tribune. "And I feel like I have that right to think that because I got a third-round tender. If they really wanted me, they had plenty of time to do what they had to do. Me personally, from my experience, I don't think I was in their plans. I would love to come back here, but I don't know what their plans are."


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