NFC West: Aldon Smith

Around the NFC West: Kroenke's intentions
May 15, 2012 9:14:35 AM PDT
By Mike Sando

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke doesn't say much publicly. He generally doesn't convey emotions.

As a result, we're left to wonder to what degree he wants the Rams to remain in St. Louis.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch thinks the Rams' proposed stadium renovations indicate Kroenke is serious about keeping the team in town. Burwell: "Look very carefully at the plan. It is not an over-the-top, ostentatious, football-only counteroffer that attempts to thrust the Dome to the very top of the National Football League's most extravagant stadiums. It's not an outrageous plan that feels like the sort of crazy counteroffer whose sole intent is to blow up the entire process, thus allowing Kroenke to scoot off to Los Angeles as quickly as possible. What the Rams have put in front of us is a design whose intent is to make the Edward Jones Dome something that works for all of St. Louis, not just the football team." Noted: I also thought the Rams' proposal seemed reasonable under the circumstances. It's all part of a process that will continue, most likely, with arbitration beginning June 15. That arbitration would be binding for the Rams if the stadium authority accepted the arbiter's proposal. The Rams' lease would then extend through 2025. Otherwise, the Rams would go year-to-year on their lease beginning in March 2015.

Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports says Pete Carroll, like Tom Landry decades ago, seems to think competition at quarterback can be a healthy thing. Roger Staubach: "Coach Landry thought the quarterback just went in and executed the play the way everybody else does what they're supposed to do. He didn't understand that quarterback was different. It took him awhile to get that. … It got to the point where I really didn't care if it was me or not and I think Craig (Morton) felt the same. Yeah, you want to play, but both of us just wanted a decision." Noted: The Seahawks are not yet to that point, in my view. Matt Flynn owns two regular-season starts. Russell Wilson has never played in even an exhibition game. Tarvaris Jackson has the look of a journeyman at the position. Committing to one of them wholeheartedly at this point would be premature.

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle came away impressed after watching Wilson's first practice with the team. Huard: "My first minicamp practice was spent just trying to call the play correctly. Wilson's first practice consisted of team, seven-on-seven, routes versus air and individual drills where it was difficult to find a misguided pass. Sure, he had a few passes tipped at the line and in the secondary, but his completion percentage was north of 80, and this is with guys he didn't even know by name. It would be fun to compare Wilson's initial camp with his draft-day peers: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler & Co. While Tannehill, like Wilson, has a background in his current offensive system, I can't imagine any of the rookie passers making more of an impression than Russell.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times offers thoughts on the Seahawks' recently concluded rookie camp. On Bruce Irvin: "The first day of practice was a little bit of a challenge in his conditioning, but even then, you saw bursts of that speed off the edge as he jetted around Alex Barron. Yes, Barron has been out of the league for a year, but we're also talking about a former first-round pick of a tackle. Irvin might not start right away, but he's going to have a role as a pass rusher right off the bat, and he showed this weekend he has the speed to make the most of it." Noted: That's good news for the Seahawks. I watched the first day of practice and thought Barron's length and experience created challenges Irvin would not have faced had he gone against rookies instead.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com runs a photo showing Carroll as a college player, with the third-year Seahawks coach recalling how he found out no NFL team had drafted him back in 1973.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee offers thoughts on LaMichael James' upbringing in a tough neighborhood. Barrows: "I could just have easily written about the Texarkana neighborhood in which he grew up. James, in fact, credits both his grandmother and his home town with forging him into the man and the player he is today. That neighborhood is on the Texas side of town and is known as Beverly. James described it as a virtual war zone. ... I talked to one of his coaches and asked him if he thought James was embellishing a bit. No, he said, Beverly was that bad. His sister, Tasha, who is 16 years his senior and who is extremely protective of her little brother, wanted him to get as far away from Texarkana as he could."

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle puts into perspective A.J. Jenkins' conditioning. Branch: "To those up in arms, I invite you to travel back to early June when Smith, the No. 7 overall pick, arrived at San Jose State during the lockout for his first workout with veteran teammates such as Justin Smith, Isaac Sopoaga, Ray McDonald and Parys Haralson. How'd that go for Aldon? Well, Sopoaga was still laughing about the rookie’s performance a week after he debuted."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in from the Cardinals' annual golf tournament. Urban: "There are serious golfers, like coach Ken Whisenhunt and kicker Jay Feely, some middle-of-the-road guys who all seemed to hit good shots when the cameras were around (at least, that’s what they were telling us) and other guys who you should be careful to be around when they are taking a shot (Um, Beanie, about that swing …)."

Tags: San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Around the NFC West, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Alex Barron, Ken Whisenhunt, Beanie Wells, Pete Carroll, Stan Kroenke, Tom Landry, Jay Feely, Brock Huard, Tarvaris Jackson, Roger Staubach, LaMichael James, Matt Flynn, Andrew Luck, Aldon Smith, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiler, Brandon Weeden, Bruce Irvin, A.J. Jenkins, Russell Wilson

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