The Miami Dolphins' marriage with "Hard Knocks" sat there on a tee Tuesday.
At least two NFC West teams, San Francisco and Seattle, had resisted opportunities to appear on the HBO series. Both of those teams and a third from the division, St. Louis, had outflanked the Dolphins for a coach or player over the past couple offseasons.
This was the latest opportunity to draw a contrast between Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and the NFC West, except for one thing. At the bottom of a recent NFC West mailbag, I'd promised A.J. from New Jersey to lay off Ross after A.J. accused a recent item of having gone too far.
"I don't think the Dolphins were sold on Matt Flynn," A.J. had written. "Jim Harbaugh wanted to stay in Northern California much more than he was uncomfortable with Miami's owner. Jeff Fisher would have taken the Miami job had he been granted total personnel control."
No item from me, but ...
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com passes along coach Pete Carroll's explanation for steering clear of the program. With apologies to A.J. from New Jersey, the explanation doesn't make Ross or the Dolphins look all that great. Carroll: "It’s nice that they asked us and that they want to see what we’re doing and what we’re all about, and I think we would make a fantastic show, but that’s not what we’re here to do. Some guys see it otherwise. We're here to win football games and we’re here to do things right and we don’t need to be concerned about that kind of stuff. I think that’s a distraction to our purpose. It’s an awesome show. I like watching it, too. I just want to see someone else’s team." Noted: "Hard Knocks" could work out well for the Dolphins. Carroll could use a .500-or-better season record more than any notoriety that might have come with the program.
Also from Farnsworth: a look at players making their mark at the Seahawks' organized team activities.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times looks at reasons why Kellen Winslow did not fit in Tampa Bay, but he ultimately concludes that the tight end should be a welcome addition in Seattle. O'Neil: "Yes, Zach Miller's production dropped off a cliff last year, and no, Winslow isn't getting any younger, but these are two of the league's most productive, pass-catching tight ends in the previous five years, and if opponents load up to stop the Seahawks run game, Seattle now has a pair of tight ends to search out mismatches against linebackers in the passing game."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says every pound counts for Larry Fitzgerald, who is shaving off a few of them as he gets back into football shape following his offseason travels. Classic quote from Fitzgerald: "You've seen my dad. I don't mean that in a derogatory way, but he's not a little man by any stretch of the imagination. I can't play receiver at that weight." Noted: Funny stuff. I do recall television cameras showing Fitzgerald's father wolfing down a hot dog in the press box while watching the Cardinals play a few years ago. On a serious note, Fitzgerald prefers to play at around 212-213 pounds.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in with Kevin Kolb regarding the quarterback's decision to change helmets. Kolb on concussions: "I don’t worry about them. It was a freak deal. They don’t happen all the time." Noted: There's a difference between showing concern and worrying. Any smart football player would be concerned about concussions. Kolb was concerned enough to change helmets. As an athlete, however, there's no advantage in become consumed with worry. Kolb has to play the game.
Also from Urban: a look at the Cardinals' depth at outside linebacker.
Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams long-snapper Travis Tripucka, son of former Notre Dame and NBA star Kelly Tripucka, for thoughts on carving his own path in athletics. Travis Tripucka played lacrosse at Massachusetts and was the long-snapper on the football team. O'Neill: "What's more, he became quite good at it, good enough to draw post-draft attention from NFL teams, good enough to work out for teams, good enough to draw a recommendation from Rams special teams coach John Fassel and a contract from the Rams." Noted: Tripucka's grandfather, Frank, played quarterback for the Broncos and recently granted them permission to unretire his No. 18 jersey for Peyton Manning.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com offers notes from the 49ers' recent OTA. Maiocco: "During a two-minute drill to conclude practice, quarterback Alex Smith hit Randy Moss on a 45-yard pass down the right sideline against unsuspecting rookie cornerback Deante' Purvis. Moss gave no indication the ball was en route and Purvis never turned around as Moss gently reached up to catch the pass and stepped out of bounds. The 49ers' first-team offense scored on Smith's short-pass to Kyle Williams on fourth down."
Also from Maiocco: picking up where we left off with the 49ers, specifically why an increase in passing yardage could benefit the team. Maiocco: "If they had converted 40 percent of their third downs, that would've meant 23 more first downs. Let's just say the 49ers achieved each of those additional first downs through the air. The 49ers averaged 11.5 yards per completion. That's 265 more yards passing on third downs. Then, the 49ers would've had 23 more sets of downs through the course of the season. Let's just say each of those sets resulted in only three more plays, that's 69 more offensive plays. The 49ers threw the ball about 50 percent of the time. So let's say, they attempted 34 more passes. The 49ers averaged 7.1 yards every time they attempted a pass, so that's another 241 yards passing. In all, that's 506 more yards passing for the 49ers on the season."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee takes a closer look at the 49ers' depth chart.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says there are no guaranteed roster spots, even for a player as established and specialized as long-snapper Brian Jennings.
Also from Branch: Brandon Jacobs wants to cut weight.
Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle says 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown has vowed to donate one game check to charity if he fails to earn Pro Bowl recognition this season. Noted: Brown would be doing well to emerge as one of the four or five best corners in the division. That's no knock on Brown, either. But with Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, Cortland Finnegan, Patrick Peterson and Carlos Rogers in the NFC West, the division is stacked at the position. Teams also invested early draft choices in corners.