NFC Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Seahawks


  • The 49ers have hired former Jaguars assistant LB coach Mike Rutenberg as a passing game specialist. (Field Yates)


Cardinals WR Christian Kirk said his 2019 season was “frustrating” and didn’t meet any of his expectations last year. 

Just frustrating,” Kirk said, via Bob McManaman of Arizona Republic. “I hold myself to a higher expectation, so the fact I didn’t meet many of my expectations for what I wanted Year 2 to look like for me, was frustrating.”

Kirk doesn’t think his struggles throughout the season were a setback for him. 

“I wouldn’t say it sets me back by no means,” Kirk said. “And I think on the field, me trying to fit in Fitz’s shoes and try to kind of follow in his path, it’s more than on the field. It’s what he has done as a community leader and just his presence, not only here in Arizona but in society, and him as a businessman and just being able to learn from him in all aspects of that nature.”

Kirk is confident that he will be able to continue learning from Larry Fitzgerald and recently acquired WR DeAndre Hopkins. 

“But on the field, I think if anything DeAndre can help me get there. A lot of people could look at it as, ‘It is a setback for him’ or ‘He won’t see as many targets’ or whatnot, but the fact that I’m playing with arguably a first-ballot Hall of Famer, arguably the best receiver to ever play the game, and then arguably the best receiver currently in the game right now, if those are the two guys in front of me that I’m learning from and following in their footsteps, then I have no problem with that.”

“Just stay healthy, regardless if it’s out of my control or not, just doing everything I can to be on the field for every single game,” said Kirk. “That and just keep progressing. The good thing about it is if you look at it statistically, hurt or not, I was still able to progress. The next step is just taking that next jump and just keep on progressing and showing that I am getting better.”

Kirk believes the addition of Hopkins will open up the field for Fitzgerald, Kenyan Drake, and himself.

“It’ll open up things for all of us,” Kirk said. “I believe it will be a little bit of ‘pick your poison.’ If you want to double DeAndre, that leaves Fitz in the slot and me on the other side for more one-on-one opportunities. If you want to play two high — Cover 2 — then we have Kenyan Drake in the backfield and there goes our run game.”


  • Seahawks HC Pete Carroll told reporters that kneeling during the anthem was never an issue when they previously expressed interest in QB Colin Kaepernick: “That went out like that was the issue. That was never the issue. That was a media-driven thing so I don’t know where that came from.” (Bob Condotta)
  • Carrol said he regretted having not signing Kaepernick back in 2017: “I felt like we missed the opportunity, knowing what we know now.” (Bob Condotta)
  • According to Carroll, signing Kaepernick wasn’t a good fit due to the fact that they felt he was a starter and believed that he would start for another team that season. (Brady Henderson)
  • Presently, Carroll has not completely ruled Kaepernick out, but is satisfied with current backup QB Geno Smith and hopes that another team will take a chance on signing Kaepernick. (Bob Condotta)
  • Carroll mentioned that he received a phone call from an unnamed NFL team asking about Kaepernick and believes the team was potentially interested in signing him. (Bob Condotta)
  • As for RB Rashaad Penny‘s recovery, Carroll said it is going well and that the Seahawks won’t rush him back from the PUP list, especially now that they have signed RB Carlos Hyde. (Bob Condotta)
  • Hyde was also injured but Carroll says it “sounds like everything is going great” with his shoulder and the Seahawks expect that he will be ready for the start of the season. (Bob Condotta)
  • When it comes to changes on Seattle’s defense, Carroll said that Seahawks S Marquise Blair is going to get a lot of consideration” to be used in the nickel package. (Bob Condotta)
  • Carroll implied that Seattle won’t play as much base defense this year due to the fact that their defensive personnel has changed and played it as much as they did last season out of necessity. (Bob Condotta)
  • Carroll was optimistic, mentioning that CB Quinton Dunbar took time off after his arrest to deal with personal issues. Dunbar is now back taking part in virtual meetings, and Carroll added he couldn’t comment on the situation as the Seahawks wait for it to play out. (Bob Condotta)

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