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Around the NFC West: Tatupu steps up

8/3/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Lofa Tatupu was the Seahawks' player of the day Sunday. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley: "He's really stepped up the last couple of days in training camp, and today he had quite a few plays he was making. I'll bet that he'll make a big jump now from here on out. Just because you see he has such a good understanding." 

Also from O'Neil: Can the Seahawks fix what has been ailing their offensive line over the past three seasons?

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says newly signed Seahawks cornerback Travis Fisher was a little rusty in his first practice, as one might expect. Also, T.J. Houshmandzadeh did something he almost never does: drop a pass.

John Morgan of Field Gulls isn't expecting much from Fisher in Seahawks camp, giving him only an outside shot at competing for the dime role.

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says retired Seahawks center Robbie Tobeck positioned his boat near the team's waterfront practice facility and heckled Walter Jones for missing practice to rest back spasms. Jones and Tobeck were very close as teammates. They used to smoke cigars and watch the Sopranos together on Sunday nights.

Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com says Matt Hasselbeck completed 10 of 12 passes to six receivers during the final two team periods Sunday.

Also from Farnsworth: Seattle got bigger in the middle of its defensive line.

Jim Trotter of SI.com predicts a 10-win season for the Seahawks after visiting their training camp. Seeing Jones without a knee brace following surgery could be a good sign.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams linebacker Chris Draft is fighting hard for a starting spot. Draft wants to stay in the middle, where he can make defensive calls, but rookie James Laurinaitis is expected to play there sooner than later.

Also from Coats: Ron Bartell, Leonard Little and Tye Hill are among those feeling the effects of training camp.

Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com offers a few observations from Rams camp. Gordon: "Fans attending the open session saw Jason Smith block through the whistle with great enthusiasm. He and Richie Incognito were one-upping each other on the right side of the offensive line, at the expense of their teammates on the other side of the ball. Although new nose tackle Hollis Thomas is in terrible physical shape, he proved stout on the other side of the line. He claims to be in the 'ballpark' of 340 pounds, but that is a huge ballpark."

Steve Korte of the Belleville News Democrat says Steven Jackson appears ready for training camp, as Steve Spagnuolo can vouch.

Also from Korte: The Rams set a physical tone as the new coaching staff watched closely.

More from Korte: Hilarious comments from center Jason Brown on his exchanges with quarterback Marc Bulger. A sampling: "Mainly it's him getting to know my rear end, and him being comfortable with his hands underneath my rear end. He's checking my oil every day."

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis is a defensive leader at age 24. He isn't always a vocal one, however. Teammate Jeff Ulbrich thinks Willis can become the type of leader Bryant Young was for so many years.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says receiver Brandon Jones has gotten off to a good start in 49ers training camp, catching a couple of deep balls.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers offensive lineman Alex Boone exceeded his expectations during pass-rush drills.

Also from Barrows: The 49ers are taking things slowly with tackle Marvel Smith, who has been sharing second-team reps at right tackle behind Adam Snyder.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News takes a closer look at the "nutcracker" drill Mike Singletary has implemented to foster toughness.

The 49ers' Web site provides video featuring Sunday practice MVPs Vernon Davis and Ahmad Brooks. Brooks is getting more prominent work while Parys Haralson recovers from injury.


Also from the 49ers: 30 photos from practice.

Taylor Price of 49ers.com says Josh Morgan's one-handed reception despite tight coverage from safety Dashon Goldson was easily the best play of training camp so far.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Davis leads the team in receptions during 7-on-7 drills.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Ken Whisenhunt is excited about taking over play-calling duties on offense following Todd Haley's departure to the Chiefs. "I'll be a lot better than Todd," Whisenhunt joked.

Also from Urban: Larry Fitzgerald is leading by example.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals rookie Greg Toler and Toler's older brother, who tried to provide guidance for his younger sibling.

Also from Somers: Beanie Wells says he is "definitely disappointed" about suffering an ankle injury during his first training camp practice. Wells: "I've been going through the injury thing quite awhile now, and [Saturday] was just a fluke. I don't think an ankle sprain is nothing too major. If I get on top of it, I think it will go away quickly."

More from Somers: a few notes, including one about how the secondary played well Sunday.