Around the NFC West: Courting Fitzgerald

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
9:41
AM ET
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' attempts at improving their roster compel Larry Fitzgerald to re-sign with the team as long as Arizona is offering a fair deal. Bickley: "Fear is a great motivator, and the potential loss of Fitzgerald surely spurred the exhilarating changes in training camp. The Cardinals delivered the most coveted quarterback on the market, a hometown hero, depth at tight end, an upgraded offensive line and a revamped team that has captivated the Valley. On paper, that should be enough to satisfy Fitzgerald's competitive desires." On the other hand, what if Kevin Kolb isn't the answer? If Fitzgerald was looking to make sure the Cardinals improved before committing to a long-term deal, should he make the decision in good faith? Should he wait to see for sure how this team comes together?

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic suggests Patrick Peterson could start for Arizona quickly even though coach Ken Whisenhunt doesn't like putting rookies in the lineup right away. Levi Brown started in Week 1 of his rookie season as the fifth player chosen in his draft class. That was in 2007, Whisenhunt's first season with the team.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Fitzgerald and Kolb are developing a rapport even though they cannot yet practice together. Fitzgerald: "He’s trying to get me some things I don’t want to do. He’s a dipper, a chewer and he tries to get me to put a little inside my lip. I won’t do it. I heard it makes you throw up. But we’re having fun. He’s learning. He’s the son of a coach and always looking at film. He’ll call you up and ask, ‘I’m looking at this play, what are you thinking?’ And I’m like, ‘Kevin, I’m sleeping.’ But that’s him, he wants to be great."

Also from Urban: The Cardinals are pushing to re-sign Fitzgerald before the regular season.

More from Urban: Beanie Wells' big chance.

Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reflects on Hall of Famers from the St. Louis Cardinals era.

Reid Laymance of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asks colleagues to identify the Rams' biggest move this offseason. Bryan Burwell: "The single most significant signing without question is guard Harvey Dahl. I have been saying all offseason that the Rams needed a brute on the interior offensive line to not only provide pass protection for QB Sam Bradford, but more importantly to put some force in the running game between the tackles. A year ago, Steven Jackson had to either tap dance or run up the backs of the guards on this team because they were being dominated in short yardage situations inside the tackles. Dahl is a nasty tough guy who will provide muscle and attitude."

Also from Burwell: The Rams are gaining credibility.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' Ron Bartell paid for teammates' hotel rooms so they could work out together in Arizona this offseason. James Laurinaitis: "Ron wanted everyone to come out to Arizona, and to be honest with you it was great team bonding. Everybody was right next to each other in the hotel. The rooms were right next to each other. So it was kind of fun to get together, with just everyone joking with each other and having a good time. I think we got a lot of actual team chemistry done in that little trip. It was good."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says the team fought through brutally hot conditions Monday.

Also from Wagoner: Isaac Bruce was back at Rams camp to help tutor receivers.

More from Wagoner: Steven Jackson is ready to carry the load once again for the Rams. Wagoner: "Having just recently turned 28, Jackson is entering his eighth season on the heels of one of the most consistent stretches put together by any running back in the league. Jackson took hold of the reins of the starting job in 2005 and hasn’t looked back, posting more than 1,000 rushing yards in every season since. Last season, Jackson surged past Eric Dickerson early in the season to become the franchise’s all time leading rusher. That total stands at 7,948 yards entering the season and only figures to increase as Jackson will again be asked to carry the load from the running back position."

Howard Balzer of 101ESPN St. Louis reflects on Marshall Faulk's career with the Rams.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com profiles new left guard Robert Gallery. Tom Cable on Gallery: "Very intelligent, very tough-minded, phenomenal worker, kind of a relentless mentality when it comes to preparation and working hard and all that. So, he fits my mentality the right way. You just outwork everybody and then the result is going to be what you want."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times offers notes from Seahawks practice, including defensive line coach Todd Wash's thoughts on Brandon Mebane: "He's a good interior D lineman. He's not necessarily a nose, he's not necessarily a three-technique. He's got the athletic ability and the burst and the get off to play three and he's got enough weight and anchor to play the nose spot. Once again, he's very versatile. We are across the front, guys can play a variety of positions."

Also from O'Neil: Pete Carroll says the team can improve quickly. Carroll: "We're surprised in what we look like right now. We're really pleased with where we are right now -- the competitiveness, the athleticism, the skill level -- and we're still working."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune checks in with Cable and Gallery. Also: "The Seahawks confirmed the signing of cornerback Kelly Jennings today. He’ll get an opportunity to compete for the starting cornerback job opposite Marcus Trufant, a stacked competition that includes Walter Thurmond, Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman."

Also from Williams: more on Gallery.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says rules changes have forced the 49ers to change up their practice schedule. Maiocco: "First, teams were not allowed to practice in full pads until the third day of on-field work. Teams can no longer have two fully padded practices in the same day. In fact, players can wear helmets on the field only once a day. And teams are required to give the players a day off before working seven days in a row."

Also from Maiocco: The 49ers never seriously tried to re-sign Manny Lawson after drafting Aldon Smith.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee thinks Lawson would fit better as a strongside linebacker in Cincinnati than as a 3-4 outside linebacker in San Francisco.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says Madieu Williams' signing raises questions about Dashon Goldson's future with the team. Also: "The 49ers have entered into a four-year partnership with 95.7-FM offering Monday programming that includes a monthly appearance by Harbaugh and weekly spots from general manager Trent Baalke and select players. Game broadcasts will continue on KNBR 680-AM and 107.7 The Bone."

Also from Inman: Thoughts on the 49ers now that he's back on the beat.

Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat thinks the 49ers will use a 2012 first-round draft choice for a cornerback.

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