<
>

Around the NFC West: Leinart, coach meet

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic passes along comments from Matt Leinart and Ken Whisenhunt after an eventful Monday at Arizona Cardinals headquarters. Leinart: "I feel like I've outplayed the competition, training camp, preseason. I think my play speaks about that. For me, this goes beyond the football field. The philosophy is you want the best 11 guys to play. I feel like I've proved that with my performance. I don't really know what else I could possibly do, so it probably goes beyond football. For me, I just really want an explanation, and I haven't been given one." I'm thinking Whisenhunt isn't looking for philosophical pointers from his quarterback. Just a thought.

Also from Somers: It's looking as though the Cardinals will be without inside linebacker Gerald Hayes for the regular-season opener.

More from Somers: Leinart and Whisenhunt have spoken, but it's looking like Derek Anderson will start the regular-season opener.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com has this to say about the Leinart-Whisenhunt dispute: "Does anyone really think Whisenhunt would move away from Leinart if he believes Leinart gives him a better chance to win than Anderson? I just can’t see it. Maybe Anderson starts. Maybe Leinart does. Either way, I am guessing Whiz wouldn’t jeopardize his chances at victory by making a QB choice based on anything else. The man has an engineering degree. He thinks through everything and he makes decisions very deliberately. This isn’t Denny Green, making spur-of-the-moment emotional choices -- like John Navarre starting in Detroit."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams running back Steven Jackson feels no need to play in the final exhibition game. Coach Steve Spagnuolo said he's undecided on whether Jackson might play. One consideration could be getting Jackson and rookie Sam Bradford more work together before the regular-season opener. Jackson on whether he wants to play Thursday: "No. But if Coach wants me to go out there, I'm fully prepared to play however long the 'ones' are going to be out there. But me personally, no, I don't want to play."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says winning five games would equal a successful season for the Rams.

Also from Thomas: Players on the fringes of the Rams' roster fight for jobs. Ernest Reid: "I was working as a youth counselor, and in security, just bouncing around jobs," Reid said. "Finally, I decided I just wanted to finish my football and see where it takes me."

Tony Softli of 101ESPN St. Louis explains how he used to make roster decisions when he was with the Rams. Softli: "I rank the team from 1-60, from the best players to the worst, Blue to Green. Blue players are difference makers with blue production, Red players are starters and heavy contributors, Orange Players are back-up special teamers with limited production and Green players are high percentage of free agents that won’t make the team. I pick the starting eleven on offense and defense. That’s 22 players. Add the second string players and you get 44. I then add a Kicker, Punter and snapper to bring the total to 47. Once I get to 47, I then choose six players I just could not go without to bring the total to 53."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says Joe Montana watched part of practice at 49ers headquarters Monday. Maiocco: "Montana's last known visit to the 49ers' practice facility with the entire team present was June 2002 when he took part in a video for NFL Films on quarterback mechanics with Bill Walsh and several former teammates."

Also from Maiocco: Kurt Schottenheimer's role in formulating the 49ers' roster.

More from Maiocco: a look at how the 49ers' defensive players fared against Oakland in the third exhibition game. On Reggie Smith: "He entered as part of the 49ers' first sub defense. He admittedly made a mental mistake when he allowed Louis Murphy to run past him in the slot for a 74-yard touchdown just before the half. But he was also in coverage on the final fourth-down play when Gradkowski tried to get the ball deep to Watkins."

More yet from Maiocco: a look at how the 49ers' offensive players fared. On Brian Westbrook: "He played six snaps in his 49ers debut before leaving the game with a cramp in his hamstring. He carried twice for 17 yards. He was stuffed for no gain on his first attempt, then took a handoff out of the shotgun formation on third and 6 for a 17-yard burst up the middle. He is considered 'day to day'."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee updates 49ers injuries. Sounds like tight end Vernon Davis is doing well.

Also from Barrows: Where do Alex Boone and Diyral Briggs stand with the 49ers? Keeping Briggs on the roster seems like a priority to me. He's shown enough during preseason for another team to pick him up, I would think.

More from Barrows: a 53-man roster projection that Nate Davis would like. I don't think keeping three quarterbacks is necessarily a given.

Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat sizes up the 49ers' options at punt returner.

Also from Barber: a look at 49ers roster battles.

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says veteran Travis LaBoy isn't sweating out looming roster cuts.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers coach Mike Singletary took a low-keyed approach when given a chance to praise David Carr.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Chester Pitts will get limited practice work this week for the first time since joining the Seahawks. Pitts was a good player before suffering a knee injury that required microfracture surgery. It's a significant development for Seattle if Pitts recovers well enough to start this season.

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times checks in with Deion Branch, who feels good physically and also about his situation in Seattle. General manager John Schneider told Branch not to worry about rumors questioning whether Branch would return for a fifth season with the team.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Seahawks rookie Golden Tate has to work on being patient.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says an elbow injury sidelined Aaron Curry in practice Monday.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune hasn't seen much from the Seahawks' running game to this point of the exhibition season. Boling: "Of the three leading candidates for carries at tailback, Leon Washington has picked up 3.5 yards a try, while incumbents Justin Forsett and Julius Jones are both at 2.8. Give them a break … it’s not like there’s exactly been room to romp. There haven’t even been much in the way of flashes as the banged up offensive line apparently is still learning the blocking scheme with a shuffling cast of performers."

John Boyle of the Everett Herald says Marcus Trufant is looking to regain his Pro Bowl form. So far, so good.