Around the NFC West: Forsett gets chance
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times sizes up Seahawks rookie running back Justin Forsett as tougher than his diminutive frame might indicate. Forsett has performed well during camp so far. A strong exhibition season could force the Seahawks to consider keeping him. At practice the other day, I asked Mike Holmgren about the numbers at running back. He said they usually go with a combined 11 players at running back and receiver (six of one, five of the other). Forsett would likely be the sixth running back if Seattle kept that many. Jordan Kent might be the sixth receiver if Seattle kept that many.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee explains why J.T. O'Sullivan appeals to 49ers coach Mike Nolan. The quarterback's businesslike demeanor and command of the offense set him apart from the other quarterbacks in camp. The team wants to see how that translates from the practice field to a live situation.
Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle compares the 49ers' quarterback auditions to American Idol, minus Paula Abdul. Former starter Alex Smith is the second quarterback. Smith: "It's weird. It's certainly different. Even today, not taking reps with the ones (the first team, in the last practice before a game) is something different."
Also from FitzGerald: Niners receiver Isaac Bruce might not play in the exhibition opener at Oakland Friday. The team wants Bruce rested for the regular season. Fellow receivers Bryant Johnson (hamstring) and Ashley Lelie (calf) are resting injuries. Keep an eye on rookie receiver Josh Morgan and second-year receiver Jason Hill.
Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune describes Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart as even better than his impressive stat line. I'll have more on Leinart later this morning.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic singled out several Cardinals for praise following the team's exhibition opener against the Saints. Somers: "Quarterback Matt Leinart, in his third year, was sharp. Receiver Steve Breaston, in his second season, was dynamic. And a handful of rookies, including running back Tim Hightower, defensive end Calais Campbell and linebacker Ali Highsmith, turned in some big plays."
Also from Somers: Highs and lows from the Cardinals' performance. Rookie defensive end Kenny Iwebema had a sack. From what I saw, Iwebema appeared active.
Also from Somers, II: A notebook with items about the Cardinals' penalty problems and coach Ken Whisenhunt's belief that Arizona has better depth than the score might indicate. The Saints outscored the Cardinals by a 17-0 count in the second half. Arizona's depth is an issue.
Bob Young of the Arizona Republic channels comedian Jeff Foxworthy with a column entitled, "You might be a Redbird if ..." Sample material: "If the Bears are who you thought they were, you might be a Redbird." Be sure to check out the comments on this one. As reader Chocolatemilk countered: "If you're making reference to a comedy bit from 1992 in a 2008 sports story, you might be Bob Young." Not bad.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com singles out Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Steve Breaston and Jerheme Urban among those Cardinals to play well against New Orleans. On the flip side, free safety Antrel Rolle muffed a punt while getting work as a return specialist.
Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune points out the Cardinals' 0-5 record in exhibition games under Whisenhunt. But with Leinart's strong showing, the team doesn't have to worry about increased calls for backup Kurt Warner, who did not play against the Saints.
Eric Williams of Seahawks Insider breaks down some key matchups and opportunities for Seattle players entering the exhibition opener at Minnesota. He wonders if Kyle Williams' development might make it tough for injury-plagued offensive lineman Floyd Womack to earn a roster spot this summer. A fair question.
Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks have brought a fatter playbook to camp, giving the offense a better chance against a veteran defense returning all 11 starters. Also: Former Cowboys running back Julius Jones is fired up about finally getting into a game situation with his new team. That would be a Texas-sized chip on Jones' shoulder.
Jim Moore of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the NFL borrowed from the Seahawks for its recently released policy on fan behavior at games. Years ago, I remember sitting in the stands at the L.A. Coliseum while marijuana smoke wafted through the stands. I also remember sitting behind a fan wearing an expletive-laden sign telling then-Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer what to do with himself. The environment was rated NC-17. The Seahawks' motto for fan behavior is, "Keep it PG."
Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the Seahawks aren't saying how much quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will play against the Vikings tonight. Hasselbeck suffered a knee injury playing against the Vikings in 2006. He wasn't happy with Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson, the player who rolled into his legs.
Greg Johns of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says former Browns quarterback Charlie Frye hasn't forgotten what happened to him in Cleveland after only one game last season. Hasselbeck helped Frye adjust upon arriving in Seattle. Offensive coordinator Gil Haskell on the Seahawks No. 3 quarterback: "He's a very smart guy and he wants to be a good player, but the system takes awhile to learn. Trent Dilfer had a tough time with it. Matt had a little bit of a tough time with it. But (Frye) can definitely throw, so we'll go from there."
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said the Rams liked what they saw during practices with the Titans. Coach Scott Linehan liked how the Rams stood up to the Titans during a fight-marred practice session.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was there when former Titans Drew Bennett and Jacob Bell, now with the Rams, caught up with their former teammates.