Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com explains why Aubrayo Franklin's play improved over the last one-plus seasons and why the 49ers aren't rushing out to extend the nose tackle's contract beyond 2010. Maiocco: "The 49ers never seemed all that determined to get a deal done with Franklin, whose play was consistently strong from the mid-point of the 2008 season through last year. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky simplified the defense after the firing of Mike Nolan, and Franklin did not have as many two-gap responsibilities from that point forward. It wasn't until the second half of last season that the 49ers decided the best course of action was to restrict Franklin's ability to hit the free-agent market with the application of the franchise tag. The club wants to see him continue to perform at a high level before extending him with the kind of lucrative, multi-year offer the other 'franchise' nose tackles received from their respective clubs."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers are interested in extending contracts for their best young players, but Franklin isn't all that young any longer. Barrows: "He turns 30 next month, and while he may have avoided wear and tear early in his career, the 49ers have to wonder whether he's reached his peak. They also have to wonder why Franklin had his best season in his contract year."
Taylor Price of 49ers.com looks at the team's offense heading into training camp. Price on running back Michael Robinson: "Primarily known for his role as the 49ers special teams captain, Robinson is a leader on the field and in the locker room. On offense, Robinson adds value as a third-down back and proved his importance on 'Monday Night Football,' with several important catches in the second half of the 49ers season sweep of the Arizona Cardinals."
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com profiles rookie quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, who played in a pro-style offense at Duke. Lewis: "It helped me a whole lot. I wasn’t fazed at all coming out to these practices because he makes his practices up tempo and fast. The transition was great so that part wasn’t hard at all. It’s just learning the language. The language is different. You have to forget everything you learned in college. Pretty much, the route concepts and running plays are the same. The defenses never change. They add a few things to it but it’s pretty much the same."
Michael Silver of yahoo.com checks in with Rams running back Steven Jackson, who says he does not feel as though his career is wasting away. Jackson also shares details from a shark-watching trip he took to Seal Island near the Capetown coast. Jackson spent 10 minutes in an underwater cage while sharks feasted nearby. Jackson: "I was freaking out all the way down. I had a lot of trouble with the air at first; I was breathing really fast and [screwing] up the oxygen tank. Eventually, by getting control of my breathing, I calmed myself down, but it was still pretty insane. Like I told my mom when I got back, the scariest part isn’t when first see the shark or when he eats the bait right in front of you -- it’s when he disappears into the murky water and you’re like, 'Where the hell did he go?' " Jackson laments the Rams' struggles and says he hopes coach Steve Spagnuolo has enough time to implement his program.
Jim Moore of seattlepi.com says Pete Carroll's new book offers a glimpse into how the Seahawks' new coach operates. An exerpt: "By paying close attention to the actions, mannerisms and traits of our players…and by taking note of the clothes they wear, the hairstyles they choose, their personal interests, and the people they choose to hang out with, we get mountains of information."
Seahawks.com provides photos from recent efforts to paint Qwest Field's white roof blue. The white roof had become a brown roof thanks to dirt.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says about 1,000 gallons of paint were used in the roof project.
Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union-Tribune says the arrest of former Chargers safety Kevin Ellison, now of the Seahawks, triggered an investigation into a Chargers team doctor. Schrotenboer: "The case’s origins can be traced to the arrest in May of former Chargers safety Kevin Ellison, who had been charged with illegally possessed 100 Vicodin painkiller pills when he was stopped for speeding in Redondo Beach. The Chargers have said the Vicodin was not provided by the team or its doctors."
Gerry Spratt of seattlepi.com says Carroll plans to make a book-related appearance July 23 in Seattle.
Doug Pacey of the Tacoma News Tribune offers quotes from Seahawks safety Jamar Adams after Adams "pulled 7 Gs" in a high-performance jet. Pacey: "Adams flew with the Patriots Jet Team out of Olympia Regional Airport as they practiced maneuvers in preparation for the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Expo this weekend." Adams called it "the best fun" he's ever had.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com provides a screenshot of Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt from the new Madden 11 game. The simulated shot shows the Bucs leading the Cardinals, 14-7, with 2:38 left in the third quarter.
Also from Urban: Newly signed rookie receiver Andre Roberts has a shot at becoming the fourth wideout. Urban: "Roberts, from The Citadel, is a wide receiver vying for the fourth spot behind Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston and Early Doucet. He is expected to battle veteran Onrea Jones for that work, although Roberts is also in the mix to replace Breaston as punt returner. Breaston, moving to the No. 2 receiving slot, will likely lose return duties to protect him for offense."