Front-office dynamics can be tricky as NFL coaches, personnel people and administrative types exert power in various ways.
Power plays can result when one person feels threatened by another.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic suggests that happened recently when general manager Rod Graves fired salary-cap manager Justin Casey. Somers: "Casey's firing prompted speculation in league circles that Graves made the move to prove that he, not coach Ken Whisenhunt, ran the football side of the organization. Sources said Casey and Whisenhunt occasionally played golf together." Graves called that thinking ridiculous. Noted: The timing of Casey's firing does seem unusual. Graves' explanation, that he was simply making a switch following a routine review of personnel, is ultimately unsatisfying. We should not expect Graves to provide full details for every front-office move, but some elaboration would be helpful. The implication from Somers is that Graves fired Casey against Whisenhunt's wishes. If that happened, it's a significant development. I'd be interested in hearing Whisenhunt's take.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says cornerback Greg Toler has added muscle and appears more physical.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee thinks Jim Harbaugh's recent comments regarding A.J. Jenkins will draw even more attention to the San Francisco 49ers' rookie first-round draft choice. Barrows: "One of the results of Jim Harbaugh's harangue today about A.J. Jenkins is that Jenkins is bound to receive even more scrutiny than he was getting before as a first-round pick. Jenkins' big test today was one-on-one drills with cornerbacks, who for the first time this offseason could chuck him at the line of scrimmage. He faced off against Perrish Cox -- one of the more aggressive 49ers DBs -- twice and fellow rookie Deante Purvis once. Jenkins did ok at getting off the line of scrimmage but he only hauled in one of the three passes. On his one reception, he absorbed a big shot from Cox early and also jostled with him on the sideline before turning back and catching the ball."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says it appears 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree is missing practice because of a calf strain. Noted: The team doesn't disclose injury information except when NFL rules require it before games, leading to speculation. We know Crabtree isn't practicing, and that he appeared to injure a leg during practice recently.
Also from Maiocco: Jenkins welcomes criticism. Noted: While players sometimes feed off skepticism, no one likes to be criticized, in my view.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' Chris Long wanted to remain in St. Louis despite the team's struggles during his first four seasons with the team. Jeff Fisher's arrival was one factor. Long: "I've been here along with some other guys for some years now, and seen the downs. Well, when it turns around, I want to be a part of it. And I don't want to be watching it from somewhere else. When Coach 'Fish' got here, it gave us some hope, and he does things the right way. I think (GM) Les (Snead) has a vision for it, and Stan (Kroenke)'s obviously a great owner."
Also from Thomas: practice observations, with an emphasis on lineups. Thomas: "Granted, a no-pads session like Sunday's favors the defense, but defensive ends Long and Robert Quinn gave offensive tackles Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold all they could handle in pass protection in 11-on-11."
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com made this observation from camp: "First, this was as dialed in as QB Sam Bradford has been in this regime. He was flat out spinning the rock in team drills and seven on seven. Several of his throws drew oohs and aahs from his teammates and exasperated looks and reactions from defenders. There is something to be said for having a full offseason and it’s clear Bradford’s comfort level in this offense is miles ahead of where it was at this time last year in Josh McDaniels’ offense with no offseason program."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com updates Robert Turbin's development as the primary backup to Marshawn Lynch. Line coach Tom Cable is working with Turbin on one-cut running. Cable: "He kind of went in there and pity-pattered. Kind of stomping snakes, you know. You can’t do that in this system -- and in this league -- because you’re going to get hit about 18 times."
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune notes that Deuce Lutui looked comfortable working with the Seahawks' first-team offensive line at right guard. Golden Tate and Matt Flynn were among the others catching his attention with positive plays. Boling: "I thought Flynn separated himself a little, showing a nice sense of timing and connection with Doug Baldwin. But Wilson, again, looked dangerous when plays break down and buys second chances."
Also from Boling: where Sidney Rice stands at this point in camp.