Around the NFC West: Kroenke's next move

Matt Scott of the Guardian says St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is poised to take majority control of the Arsenal soccer team. Scott: "Kroenke has been a prime mover in the establishment of the Arsenal Fanshare scheme that promotes equity ownership by fans. Unlike other American owners of Premier League clubs, Kroenke is therefore believed to be unlikely to push for 100 percent control and delisting of Arsenal. Malcolm Glazer removed Manchester United from the stock exchange after taking control of the club in 2005, as did Randy Lerner at Aston Villa. Sunderland and Liverpool are other Premier League clubs in U.S. hands, with Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea, Fulham and Manchester City being the other foreign-owned clubs in England's top flight." This would be the second time Kroenke has flexed his ownership muscle recently. He surprised some by exercising an option to become majority owner of the Rams. I don't see any reason, on the surface, for this latest move to affect Kroenke's ownership of the Rams, other than to give him yet another team to monitor more closely.

Also from Scott: What are the ramifications of Kroenke's expected move? Scott: "Kroenke first opened talks with shareholders about investment in Arsenal in 2005 and, after a troubled early courtship (remember Peter Hill-Wood's 'we don't want his sort' bluster), the U.S. billionaire is now a director whose full takeover offer is being recommended by the board." Kroenke has shown an ability to earn trust. He did it within the NFL, leading owners to embrace his move to take majority control.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in with new defensive coordinator Ray Horton for thoughts on Super Bowls. Horton had this to say about the James Harrison interception return against the Cardinals in the Super Bowl following the 2008 season: "You can look at each guy and think, ‘If one guy does one thing different, he doesn’t score.' It was a dramatic play and it turned the game around. It won or lost that Super Bowl. Really, if James Harrison would have done what he was supposed to do … the play (the Cards called) was a perfect play and they would have scored, walked in and probably won the game. But because one guy did something different … the ramifications …" That was definitely a huge play, but it wasn't big enough to prevent Arizona from taking the lead in the final minutes. The Cardinals' inability to close out that game on defense stands out to me as the bigger story from that game -- and one of the reasons the team is on its third defensive coordinator in what will be four seasons.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is scheduled to visit the 49ers beginning Monday. Maiocco: "The 49ers have spent a lot of time studying the quarterbacks in this draft class. The organization is expected to use one of their top selections to address the position. But Andy Dalton of TCU is the only other quarterback reported to visit with the 49ers. Colin Kaepernick of Nevada worked out for the 49ers last month. He is not scheduled to visit Santa Clara. The 49ers attended Ricky Stanzi's second pro day at Iowa recently, but there are no plans to bring him in for a visit, either."

Also from Maiocco: how the 49ers plan to proceed with draft choices immediately following their selection, should the lockout continue. Maiocco: "The 49ers own the seventh overall pick, which should occur after 6 p.m. (PT) on Thursday, April 28. The 49ers are planning to hold a press conference in Santa Clara the following day. The 49ers might even bring in their second- and third-round draft picks from Friday, April 29, for a visit to the organization's Santa Clara facility on Saturday, April 30. But any players chosen during the draft must be out of the building when the final selection is made."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers are showing predraft interest in change-of-pace running backs, including Taiwan Jones of Eastern Washington University.

Greg Lamm of TechFlash checks in with Seahawks president Peter McLoughlin, who has this to say about the team's efforts to sell season tickets during the lockout: "Our season ticket holders have been very good. Our renewal rate is very good, consistent with last year. I think our fans are being patient. They are taking a wait-and-see attitude. So are our sponsors. They are making plans with the anticipation that we’ll be playing, and that’s what we are encouraging."

Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune says it's possible a quarterback-hungry team could trade into the Saints' No. 24 spot in the 2011 NFL draft, leap-frogging the Seahawks. But as ESPN's John Clayton points out, that strategy hasn't worked out so well.