Around the NFC West: Blitzing Leinart

August, 24, 2010
8/24/10
9:52
AM ET
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Matt Leinart pointed to the Titans' frequent blitzes when analyzing what went wrong for Arizona's first-team offense Monday night. Somers: "With Matt Leinart at quarterback, the starting unit did not gain a first down in three possessions. It was only marginally better with backup Derek Anderson. But just when Anderson threatened to start a quarterback controversy, he badly missed receiver Steve Breaston on what should have been an easy 6-yard touchdown pass. Leinart knows his performance will be critiqued and criticized, but he said it was hard to deal with the Titans' blitzes without game planning."

Also from Somers: Nose tackle Gabe Watson and receiver Andre Roberts suffered sprained right shoulders. Just what the Cardinals need: another banged-up receiver.

More from Somers: Anderson's touch might be improving, but not all at once. Somers: "Anderson showed the inconsistency that's kept him from seriously challenging Leinart, at least so far. He threw a beautiful 37-yard strike to (Stephen) Williams, putting the Cardinals at the Titans 6. The Cardinals had a perfect call on the play after. Anderson faked to Beanie Wells, the Titans bit, and receiver Steve Breaston was open in the end zone. But Anderson put too much on the ball and Breaston had no chance. Coaches have been working with Anderson on showing some touch in those situations and believe he is improving. If the Cardinals score there, then we would all be talking an awful lot today about a possible QB competition." Instead, we're talking about ... a possible QB controversy.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com thinks little will come of the Cardinals' offensive struggles Monday night. Urban: "My guess is the Cards will break down the tape, see the Titans bringing the house (and Leinart under heavy pressure nearly every play), see the running game providing no support, and figure with a better game plan, Leinart would have been OK."

Also from Urban: The Cardinals will remain in Nashville before heading to Chicago for their game Saturday.

More from Urban: Larry Fitzgerald appears close to receiving medical clearance to return from a sprained knee.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says it's unclear where Brandon Jones fits in the Seahawks' receiving rotation. Jones obviously felt the situation was unsettled enough for him to compete for a spot.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times questions whether the Seahawks will keep a true fullback on their initial 53-man roster. Quinton Ganther worked ahead of Owen Schmitt in the second exhibition game.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says cornerback Roy Lewis has been "one of the pleasant surprises" during Seahawks camp. Also at corner: "(Walter) Thurmond’s play has tailed off a bit, but he still has enormous potential and would not make it through waivers if Seattle tried to put him on the practice squad. Cord Parks and Marcus Brown are likely competing for a practice squad spot."

John Morgan of Field Gulls liked what he saw from Marcus Trufant when the Seattle cornerback challenged a pass for Greg Jennings in the most recent exhibition game.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams aren't handing the starting job to Sam Bradford yet, even though Bradford will start Thursday night at New England while A.J. Feeley recovers from a thumb injury. Coach Steve Spagnuolo: "A.J.'s the starter right now (if healthy); Sam's the backup. A.J. has a little better command of the offense. If you based it on two games, A.J.'s been able to move the football team when he's been in there. That's really what we want. Sam has a little bit of a ways to go in that. But at some point, if we feel the guy that is behind the starter can do a better job, to me, that's when you make the move. I don't know if that'll be next week. If it'll be three weeks. If it'll be four weeks. Sam still has a lot of things (to learn)."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says at least one Rams player was already familiar with newly signed receiver Danario Alexander.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea offers a player-by-player review of the 49ers' offense against Minnesota. On first-round rookie tackle Anthony Davis: "Started at right tackle and played the first three quarters, taking part in 38 snaps. He was called for a false start on the second drive. He could not hold his block on Jayme Mitchell, causing Dixon to be thrown for a 2-yard loss in the second quarter. Starting defensive end Ray Edwards was difficult for him to handle, but Davis did a good job of riding him out of the picture on a third-and-11 pass to Walker for a first down to set up the 49ers' only touchdown."

Also from Maiocco: a look at the 49ers' defense, with these thoughts on Manny Lawson: "Started at sam linebacker. He came in off the edge to throw Peterson for a 3-yard loss on the first run play of the game. He also tackled Peterson for a 1-yard loss. Credited with four tackles, a very good showing, in his one quarter of work."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee singles out 10 players for their work in the 49ers' effort against the Vikings. On cornerback Phillip Adams: " The rookie broke up three passes, including a very nice play along the sideline on a throw to receiver Marko Mitchell. He also led the 49ers with four tackles. Adams is trying to be the fifth cornerback on the active roster. The fact that he is a strong, big-bodied corner helps his cause because he can contribute on special teams."

Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat looks at the 49ers' competition between LaBoy and Diyral Briggs at outside linebacker.

Also from Barber: What's up with the 49ers' return game? Barber: "(Bobby) Guillory, signed Aug. 11, got all five punt returns against the Vikings, and both kickoff returns. There are two ways to interpret this: (1) The 49ers really want to give Guillory a good look before making a decision. Or (2) they know just what they have in (Ted) Ginn and (Dominique) Zeigler, and can rest them for the regular season." The latter option makes more sense. The team does seem high on Kyle Williams on punt returns.

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