Around the NFC West: Mike, Ted and Takeo


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee checks in with "Ted" and "Mike" in assessing how Takeo Spikes will fit into the defense. He checks in with two Mikes, actually, and one of them -- 49ers coach Mike Nolan -- provides a telling quote about freshly released linebacker Brandon Moore. What happened to the player who led the 49ers in tackles two seasons ago? Nolan: "I think the biggest thing is we've gotten better since then from a personnel standpoint. Obviously, (having) Patrick Willis inside - that exposes the guys next to you a lot."

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers signed Spikes after making sure the linebacker's shoulder checked out. Spikes had been unable to pass a physical examination when he visited 49ers headquarters earlier in the offseason.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers defensive end/linebacker Justin Smith is excited about adding Spikes to the defense. Smith and Spikes played together in Cincinnati. Smith: "He's everything you want in a football player - smart, gifted, talented and a sure tackler. He's just a leader. He has that quality about him. He knows his stuff."

Also from Brown: Niners kicker Joe Nedney explains why kicking a 22-yard field goal during the exhibition opener was so important: "(The distance) doesn't matter. It's hearing the contact in front of me, feeling the contact in front of me and the adrenaline of being out there in a game. There is no other preparation for that."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat quotes Smith as saying Spikes will help give the 49ers one of the best inside linebacker situations in the league.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the Seahawks were thrilled by Owen Schmitt's blocking in the exhibition opener. Schmitt had been looking like mostly a special-teams contributor in camp, but he showed much more in his first game situation. Farnsworth also has a note about Howard Green channeling Cortez Kennedy.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says receiver Michael Bumpus is probably headed for the Seahawks' practice squad. The former Washington State receiver has impressed recently -- he led the team in receiving yards in its exhibition opener at Minnesota -- but competition for roster spots is fierce at the position.

Scott Johnson of the Everett Herald singles out five players as having helped their chances in the Seahawks' first exhibition game. The five: defensive tackle Green, defensive end Jason Babin, linebacker David Hawthorne, safety Jamar Adams and receiver Trent Shelton. The Seahawks churned their depth at linebacker by letting Niko Koutouvides and Kevin Bentley leave in the offseason. Hawthorne is looking like a potential upgrade behind Pro Bowl middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times honors receiver Jordan Kent as the player of the day in Seahawks camp Sunday. Three impressive catches set apart Kent. O'Neil also notes that cornerback Marcus Trufant wasn't to blame for allowing Bernard Berrian's 19-yard reception in the exhibition opener. Seattle was in a Cover 2 defense at the time.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have much work to do defensively after allowing 340 yards rushing against the Titans. I've been watching the video from this game and will share a few thoughts later today.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune details Anquan Boldin's return to Cardinals practices. Boldin expects to play against Kansas City in Arizona's next exhibition game. Also: Safety Antrel Rolle says the defense is "10 times better" than it was last season.

Note: We also hit on several "Around the NFC West" subjects over the weekend, including two installments Sunday (1,2). Cardinals coverage is featured there.