Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have given vice president of player personnel Tony Softli a chance to seek a job elsewhere. Thomas: "Softli ran the '07 draft for St. Louis, with former coach Scott Linehan having the final say on selections. Of the eight players chosen in that draft, only defensive tackle Clifton Ryan remains with the Rams. Near the end of the 2007 season, rumors swirled that Softli would be ousted in the offseason. Softli stayed with the Rams, but Billy Devaney was hired in February 2008, to run the personnel department, essentially taking over Softli's duties." Softli's role had diminished so much that I had forgotten he was still working for the Rams.
Also from Thomas: The Rams will not retain Ray Ogas, who has headed up the team's player programs department for the past 10 years.
The 49ers' website offers a transcript from a recent interview with guard Chilo Rachal. Rachal on working with new line coaches Mike Solari and Ray Brown: "I’m just trying to be a sponge to both of them. I’m excited to work with both coach Solari and coach Brown, especially because coach Brown was a player at my position for 20 years in the league. I’m looking forward to finding out how he was able to play for so long, and at such a high level. With Coach Solari, he’s so technical. I’m really looking forward to this offseason with him. He understands the game of football, angles, hand placement and those types of things. Those are things I need to get better at in order to have the type of season I want to have. I’m really focusing in on all those details."
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle sizes up new 49ers running back Anthony Dixon. White: "At 6-foot-2, 233 pounds, Dixon looks like he can pack a wallop. He runs like a smaller back with his short-area quickness and burst. Raye wants to see him run like a big back, dropping the boom at the end of the run instead of getting cute with it. Add a little pass-protection work, and Dixon will be very much in the race for backup snaps with Glen Coffee when training camp starts in late July."
Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat checks in with 49ers rookie linebacker Navorro Bowman, a player the team hopes might one day earn a spot alongside Patrick Willis. Bowman: "I'm gonna focus on inside [linebacker] for now. They see me fitting that the most, and I'm excited about it. I haven't really played straight inside backer since high school, and I felt like I could've done it in college. And for them to have this confidence in me, I'm really excited about it and gonna give it 100 percent."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic expects newly signed Cardinals cornerback Justin Miller to compete with LaRod Stephens-Howling as a kick returner. Miller went to a Pro Bowl in that capacity after the 2006 season.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com explains how he thinks Miller might fit in the Cardinals' secondary. Urban: "He never really made an imprint at cornerback (he does not have a career interception), but he does give a veteran presence in an area where the Cards have little. This won’t rule out the Cards looking at other veteran cornerbacks. Of that, I am pretty sure. But as I have said before, I think the Cards will continue to sort through who is on the roster this summer and maybe not look at actually bringing in another veteran until training camp."
Also from Urban: The Cardinals' postseason success has shortened their offseasons, cutting into coach Ken Whisenhunt's practice time on the golf course. The team made it out on the course this week, however. Urban: "It doesn’t take much for many of the players to have fun on the course. Darnell Dockett doesn’t play, but he gave the practice green a little work with his putting (with help from Joey Porter) before riding around on a cart during the tourney, ostensibly to check out his teammates that do play."
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says former 49ers guard Joe Toledo turned down a chance to play for Pete Carroll at USC in 2001, instead choosing the University of Washington. Toledo accepted a tryout offer with the Seahawks last week and the team signed him Monday. Johns: "Now 27 and about 60 pounds heavier than his tight end days, Toledo worked as the second-string right tackle for most of the Seahawks' three-day minicamp that concluded Sunday. Toledo said Carroll got into the recruiting process late during his senior season in Carlsbad, Calif., having just taken the Trojans' job. He was happy to cast his lot with the Huskies and is just as eager now to land a return invitation to Seattle after spending time with four different NFL teams in the past four years."