Around the NFC West: Defending Williams

Gregg Williams isn't getting much sympathy these days.

That isn't going to change following the release of an audio tape featuring the former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator imploring his players to injure specific San Francisco 49ers -- with cash from Williams as the reward in at least one instance.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides balance to the criticism by challenging the Saints' suggestion that Williams, now defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams, acted as a "rogue" coach during his days with New Orleans. Burwell: "How can this tape be the thing that forces Roger Goodell to heap a lifetime ban on Williams? Unless I'm missing something, didn't the tape simply confirm every crime that Goodell already said he already knew Williams had perpetrated? The tape adds no new revelations, only additional confirmation. The only thing the tape does is conveniently provide the Saints coaches and general manager with an excuse to throw Williams under the bus as they attempt to receive some leniency from Goodell in their appeals hearing." Noted: The audio tape provides emphatic confirmation. It amplifies and corroborates in a manner that further damages/cements Williams' reputation. Also, the NFL's bounty announcement referred to other games and other opponents, but not this game against the 49ers. It also demonstrated that the Saints continued the bounty program shortly after learning that the NFL had reopened its investigation.

Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea.com says the NFL never would have punished the Saints to this degree had New Orleans defeated San Francisco and won the Super Bowl. Ratto: "Sean Payton would have skated again, because the league would never tolerate a two-time Super Bowl winner and supergenius being publicly rebuked for something they were trying to keep on the down-low. In short, the 49ers did the league a huge favor. Alex Smith is owed a huge solid, and here’s hoping now that he’s been given the back of the business’ hand in his latest contract that someone sees fit to take care of him. Those two late scores took out New Orleans, freeing Roger Goodell to muster enough owner support to drop a bag of hammers on Tom Benson and his perpetually defiant football staff."

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News thinks Williams is finished as an NFL coach, but he offers this: "I understand the public outrage over this tape, but folks, did you think Williams (or any intense defensive coordinator) regularly tells his players to be nice out there? No, this is an incredibly violent sport. And usually the more violent team, if it stays within the rules, is the one that wins. By the way, the 49ers were the more violent team on the field in the playoff game. THEY WON THE GAME."

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News passes along comments from 49ers safety Donte Whitner describing Williams' pregame directives as "really disgusting."

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' next draft class faces an uphill fight in some cases.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says James Sanders' signing to a one-year contract gives the Cardinals depth at safety behind starters Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes. Somers: "Sean Considine left for the Ravens, and Hamza Abdullah is not under contract. Rashad Johnson, a restricted free agent, has not yet signed his tender offer of $1.26 million."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com has this to say about Sanders: "This is a veteran who should serve well in the locker room. A scouting report from someone who covered Sanders acknowledged his age -- he doesn’t run as well as he used to -- but that the veteran is a good person, good with teammates and is intelligent, the kind of player who makes sure everyone is on the same page defensively. In some ways, it sure sounds a lot like Richard Marshall (and like Marshall, Stewart is from Fresno State. He’s actually a one-time college teammate of Marshall’s.)"

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team held its annual workout for locally produced college talent. Farnsworth: "At best, the Seahawks can find a player or two from the group -- as was the case last year with Jesse Hoffman, a defensive back from Eastern Washington University and Shorecrest High School; and Dorson Boyce, a fullback from the University of Washington. Each was invited to training camp and Hoffman was signed to a future contract for this year in January. Last year’s group also included two players who were drafted by other teams –- UW quarterback Jake Locker, the eighth pick overall by the Titans; and Shiloh Keo, a defensive back from the University of Idaho and Woodinville High School who went to the Texans in the fifth round."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune passes along Evan Silva's contention that John Carlson, formerly of the Seahawks, was the most overpaid player in free agency this offseason.

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle dismisses the notion of Kam Chancellor moving to outside linebacker for the Seahawks.