Around the NFC West: Porter's guarantee

October, 22, 2010
10/22/10
9:37
AM ET
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals outside linebacker Joey Porter expects to start getting more sacks. Porter: "I haven't been able to cash in on my opportunities all the way yet, but I've got 11 games left and I will have double-digit sacks before it's over. I don't even stress about that issue. That will happen. I know people are out there goin', 'Dang, we got Joey Porter in the off-season and he's only got one sack.' But listen, you can't judge somebody at the beginning of the season. You've got to judge them when the season is over and when I'm sitting here with 12 sacks, well, then it's time to talk." Porter has reached double-digit sacks three times in 11 previous seasons. In each of those seasons, Porter had more than one sack following his first five games. He had only two after five games in 2000, then collected three sacks the next week on his way to 10.5 for the season. Porter has had at least one game with three or more sacks in six separate seasons (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2008). He had a game with 2.5 sacks last season, helping him reach 9.0 sacks for the season.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic thinks Tim Hightower's recent issues in pass protection could lead the Cardinals to give more playing time to Beanie Wells. He also expects the Cardinals to take a conservative approach offensively early in the game against Seattle.

Also from McManaman and Somers: Hightower says the Seahawks' second-ranked run defense is good but "not invincible" heading into the Cardinals' game at Qwest Field.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Cardinals cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie isn't worried about incurring fines for illegal hits. Urban: "This is DRC we were talking about, with remnants of nail polish visible on his toes during the interview. DRC has played Pro Bowl football and is a good cornerback -- but no one is ever going to confuse him with Adrian Wilson or Rodney Harrison."

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers' third-down conversion rate has improved dramatically in three games with Mike Johnson as offensive coordinator. Venue could have something to do with those conversion rates. The team played two of three games in extremely hostile environments under Raye. The third-down numbers were horrendous under Raye in games at Seattle and at Kansas City, but the team converted 5 of 9 chances while amassing a season-high 417 yards against New Orleans in the lone home game under Raye. The 49ers have played two of three games at home since Johnson took over. They did convert a higher percentage against Atlanta in the lone road game during that stretch. The Falcons held Arizona without a third-down conversion in their only other home game this season.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News passes along comments from 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky regarding Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman, a player Manusky once coached. Manusky: "His attitude, his intensity and his desire as a football player were outstanding when I had him. I loved everything about the kid." The Chargers retain rights to Merriman for the time being.

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says Frank Gore has never asked the 49ers to give him rest during a game.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers haven't had a top pass-rusher since Andre Carter was on the team. Also, the 49ers view Gore as a security blanket on passing downs because he handles blitzes so well.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com expects the 49ers to take a low-risk approach to offense against Carolina in Week 7. Also: "When the 49ers leave for Charlotte, N.C., on Friday, they'll be packing for that trip, as well as a week in London, where they play the Denver Broncos on Oct. 31. The 49ers will also be taking along eight players on the practice squad. Players on the practice squad do not typically travel with the team. But because the 49ers will hold their week's worth of work in London, the services of the practice squad players is required."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had no idea South Park creators were going to include him randomly in a recent episode. Hasselbeck: "My phone started blowing up at around 7:14 p.m. last night and again at like 9:14 p.m., Pacific time. ... That’s all I’ve been hearing about today. People have outed themselves. People that I thought were real professionals -- marketing people, finance people, accounting, some media people -- have kind of surprised me."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Seahawks rookie cornerback Walter Thurmond is bracing for his first game against Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald. O'Neil: "In Fitzgerald's first four seasons in the league, he surpassed 100 yards receiving in just one of eight games against Seattle. The Cardinals have won back-to-back division titles and beaten Seattle four consecutive times. Fitzgerald has surpassed 100 yards in three of those four games and totaled four touchdowns."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune quotes Seahawks linebacker Aaron Curry as saying he is "enjoying" his role and coach Pete Carroll as saying things are "going great" with Curry so far this season. A couple of tweets from Curry following the Chicago game -- this one and this one -- left another impression. Curry naturally wants to be on the field more. He also likes to hit people. Neither happened as much as he would have liked against the Bears even though Curry collected his first sack of the season.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald explains how Seattle running back Justin Forsett wound up pushing around teammate Marshawn Lynch (Lynch's car ran out of gas).

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams running back Steven Jackson, who reflects on his time in St. Louis while approaching the franchise rushing record. Jackson: "I've just always prided myself on looking long-term. I knew coming into this organization that to ever be remembered, I had to be a special person and not just a special football player. Because I was replacing a living legend (Marshall Faulk). And in the numbers I wanted to break -- Eric Dickerson -- he's another legend. So I've always had a chance to look at the big picture, and not the day-to-day things that I was going through. It was very tough times. I learned a lot about myself. I found out that I was a stronger individual than I was giving myself credit for. I wouldn't have known that if I didn't go through these trials."

Also from Thomas: A bet between Sam Bradford and Danario Alexander requires the loser to wear the winner's college colors pending the outcome of the Oklahoma-Missouri game. Alexander: "He might look pretty good in black and gold. You know, he's gonna have to look good in it." Alexander feels much better about Missouri's chances now that Bradford isn't playing for Oklahoma.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says 32 yards separate Jackson from Dickerson's record.

Nick Wagoner of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams cornerback Ron Bartell intends to play Sunday despite missing recent practices. Bartell says his injury is "nothing like" one that slowed him last season, and he expects to be on the practice field Friday.

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