View photos of current 49ers players at the NFL Scouting Combine.
INDIANAPOLIS – Both head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch provided several updates on the status of the San Francisco 49ers offseason during their respective media sessions at the NFL Scouting Combine. Here, you can check in with the news being made in Indianapolis around the rest of the division in this NFC West Combine review. This is what each team's coach and GM had to say as the league shifts its focus to free agency and the draft.
Head coach Pete Carroll detailed Seattle's decision to sign tight end Greg Olsen last week. After meeting with several teams since parting ways with the Carolina Panthers last month, Olsen couldn't pass up the opportunity to play with quarterback Russell Wilson.
"I think he'll make a very fast transition," Carroll said. "He and Russell worked in the springtime and when the summertime comes up they'll be together often. I don't think there's any ceiling we should put on their ability to get together. I'm really excited about that.
"We've played against him and tried to stop him for years and he's been trying to beat us for years, too. So there's a real commonality that we've developed through the competition that was fun to talk about and to learn from each other. So we do feel like we're a lot closer than maybe we should be for other reasons."
Carroll said Seattle is not concerned with Olsen's recent injury history nor his age entering into his 14th NFL season. Olsen, who turns 35 next month, will join tight ends Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister and former Panther Ed Dickson on Seattle's roster this spring.
General manager John Schneider is adamant about improving the Seahawks pass rush in 2020. Seattle generated just 28 sacks in the regular season, tied for the second-fewest in the NFL. Part had to do with the health of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney played through a painful core injury since Week 10 of 2019 and underwent surgery this offseason. Along with several other big free agents, the veteran pass rusher is set to hit the open market next month. Schneider revealed on Tuesday that Seattle does not expect to use the franchise or transition tags this offseason, however hopes to retain the edge rusher in 2020.
"It's a landscape thing," Schneider said. "At this point last year, I thought (Kansas City Chiefs defensive end) Frank (Clark) was going to be on our team. It's really a daily or weekly process of figuring out how you're going to put this thing together. We have some cap flexibility this year, which is great, but it's not just about this year. It's planning for next year and the following year as well. We have to be cognizant of where we're going."
Schneider noted that he plans to initiate talks with Clowney's representatives this week in Indianapolis. He also admitted that Seattle hopes Clowney allows them the option to match any offers he might receive elsewhere.
Los Angeles Rams
General manager Les Snead still believes Todd Gurley can thrive in Los Angeles, despite having a down year in 2019. The Rams used the approach of managing Gurley's workload to keep the running back "fresh" in 2019. According to Snead, Los Angeles is considering using the same approach with how the running back will be utilized in 2020.
"The goal is very similar to what we'd do with our wide receivers: the more snaps they play early, the less fresh they are later," Snead said according to TheRams.com. "So that's running backs, that's usually a lot of people that spend a lot of time running a lot of yards on the football field. So all that science is coming to, you want to utilize it, but you still want to win the game at hand and be intuitive of how you use things."
Gurley rushed for 857 yards and 12 touchdowns on 223 carries and caught 31 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games in 2019. His Year 5 numbers were a drop from his Pro Bowl season the year prior where the running back posted 1,251 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 256 carries in addition to 580 receiving yards and four touchdowns in one less game.
"I would say the good thing about that plan is that Todd was available," Snead said. "I mean, he was playing last game, what you didn't notice, he was fresh in the red zone, didn't score as many touchdowns here as he had in the past but was still probably a top-five touchdown maker. There was definitely some positive effects of trying to come up with a good way to keep him (fresh) – and again, it goes with our wide receivers, it goes with our tight ends, probably less our offensive linemen, but the players who are spending a lot of time running a lot of yards, how do we keep them fresh, beginning of the game, end of the game, September, October, into January. That science is all new, and we're all trying to utilize it to the best of our abilities."
Head coach Sean McVay looks to rebound from a disappointing 9-7 season, just a year removed from the Rams first Super Bowl appearance in 17 years. Quarterback Jared Goff is coming off of his least productive season in his three years under McVay, completing just 22 touchdown passes and a career-high 16 interceptions (10 less touchdowns, four more interceptions than the season prior). Despite the production, or lack thereof, McVay hasn't lost trust in his quarterback and sees Goff's turnaround down the stretch of 2019 encouraging heading into 2020.
"The thing I'm most confident in is the way that he finished the season," McVay said. "I think to be able to work through, both of us together, a little bit of adversity this year and see the way he responded and the last five games of the season, you can take a lot of the things that he did really well in that latter half to be able to draw on, to be able to grow from, and then – like anything else, you look at the good and the bad and you say, how can we get better and he's a resilient guy, he's got a great track record of being able to respond. I think he demonstrated that this past season and we're very confident in Jared."
In the final five games of the season, Goff completed 66.2 percent of his passes and threw 11 touchdown passes to four interceptions for an 98.2 quarterback rating.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals won't lose sleep over who will be under center in 2020 entering into the offseason. Kyler Murray dazzled in Year 1, completing 64.4 percent of his passes while averaging 6.9 yards per attempt in 16 starts. He completed 20 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, earning an 87.4 passer rating in his first NFL season on his way to being named the 2019 AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Kingsbury believes Murray's trajectory, along with the veteran talent in place, will make Arizona an attractive destination in free agency this offseason.
"I hope so. Lower taxes and good weather help that as well," Kingsbury said. "We feel we have some good things going. Anytime you have a young player you expect to be really good moving forward at that position, you have Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones, great leadership in our locker room, it should be appealing to some veteran free agents and I hope it is."
Aside from his award-winning play, Kingsbury is confident in Murray's ability to make significant strides in his sophomore campaign.
"I expect him to make a big jump this season," Kingsbury added. "His skillset is through the roof. We just have to work hard to get better.
"In our offense, traditionally in Year 1 to Year 2, our quarterbacks have played at a much higher level, and I am expecting him to do the same."
Murray threw for 391 yards on 57 passes for four touchdowns (71.93 completion percentage) and a 114.0 passer rating in his first two career games against the 49ers.
General manager Steve Keim gave updates on the Cardinals running back dilemma. Injuries to David Johnson and Chase Edmonds led to Arizona trading for running back Kenyan Drake in October. Drake rushed for 643 yards on 123 carries (5.2 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns in eight games in Arizona. Following Drake's impressive first year with the Cardinals, he's set to hit the open market next month. Keim indicated Arizona is interested in re-signing the ball carrier, who could demand more money this offseason after proving he's capable of being a No. 1 back.
"He's certainly a guy we would like to have back, but again not sure what the market is going to do," Keim said. "I do know this: He took full advantage of his opportunity. I was really proud to see not only his work ethic but the skill set he has is so unique, his ability to run, stretch the way he does, ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, to be able to have him and David (Johnson) and Chase (Edmonds) in the backfield really presented some problem for other teams."
As far as Johnson goes, he signed a lucrative contract extension ahead of the 2018 season, however injuries forced the veteran rusher to take the backseat to Drake. Johnson rushed for just 345 yards and two touchdowns on 94 carries in 13 games in 2019. Pending Drake's whereabouts in free agency, Johnson could be primed for another opportunity at taking over as Arizona's lead back.
"I think it started with the injuries," Keim said of Johnson's 2019 campaign. "And then when we acquired Kenyan and he came in and got the hot hand, like any sport when you get the hot hand you don't want to take that player out so he (Drake) certainly deserved the reps he got. Again, really made his best opportunity out of it. But David is a guy because of his work ethic, because of his ability to create mismatches in the passing game, he's a guy that we still value.
"I think because of the success that Kenyan had, because of the success Chase had, I think that's something that will be a chip on (Johnson's) shoulder. He's going to want to come back and play well and again because of his skill set, he's such a big talented athlete, we certainly think he can jump back in and do some good things for us."