Around the NFC West: Whitehurst better

August, 15, 2011
8/15/11
8:00
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Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune passes along notes from Seahawks practice Sunday. He says veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant is enjoying a strong camp to this point. Also: "All three quarterbacks looked good, but Charlie Whitehurst had another very strong practice when he passed with improved confidence. He gunned one into a small window to Pat Williams, and also was accurate on a couple short passes to the backs that he had missed on occasionally earlier in camp."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune checks in with Seahawks defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com was there when Whitehurst defended his title in the team's second annual home-run derby. Farnsworth: "Whitehurst hit three balls over the fence that separates the practices fields from the berm at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on five swings. Rookie free agent punter John Gold was second with two. ... Last year, Whitehurst had to hit 13 homers in 17 swings to outlast defensive end Ricky Foley in a slug-off to win the inaugural event."

Also from Farnsworth: Seahawks notes, including one about 6-foot-3 rookie cornerback Richard Sherman enjoying a strong camp.

More from Farnsworth: The Seahawks have been pleased with Tyler Polumbus' play in relief of Russell Okung. General manager John Schneider on how Polumbus performed against San Francisco in the 2010 opener: "In that first game, Tyler stepped in and played against Greg Manusky’s group. Those guys were playing 140 mph and Tyler played well."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times offers notes from Seahawks practice, including one about Brandon Browner getting work at first-team cornerback. Also: Receiver Patrick Williams shined in practice.

Also from O'Neil: He thinks Leroy Hill appears poised for a bounce-back season that could make Hill one of the bargains of free agency.

More from O'Neil: Whitehurst has gained momentum recently, but Tarvaris Jackson remains the Seahawks' starting quarterback.

Liz Mathews of 710ESPN Seattle details Golden Tate's mindset coming off a disappointing rookie season.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic profiles new Cardinals linebacker Stewart Bradley, whose interests include architecture, the arts, speaking French and paying a mean inside linebacker (when healthy). Defensive coordinator Ray Horton: "Ohhhhh, watch out downhill. He's going to come downhill and hit you. He's a very smart player and aggressive. And he's a lot better in coverage than I really thought he was."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic analyzes the Cardinals' preseason game against Oakland. Somers: "Beanie Wells run hard and made some nice cuts. I thought he also missed a couple of opportunities. On replay, it appeared he had a chance to out-run the safety on his 15-yard run. I'd rather see him try to out-run the safety and then lower the shoulder if he has to nearly the goal line. Instead, Wells cut it back and was tackled at the 8. His pad level on the goal line series was way too high. If he gets lower, he scores. It was the first game and those are things he can easily improve upon."

Also from Somers: The Cardinals' tight ends are contributing.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com gets Hamza Abdullah's thoughts on spending an evening at the White House with the president. Abdullah: "Once-in-a-lifetime. It was just so humbling. And I continue to say that because it’s something money can’t buy you. You’re not famous, it’s just something where, you are chosen. You feel blessed. The man has a million different things on his plate, but he’s relating to you."

Also from Urban: Horton's plans for pressuring quarterbacks.

More from Urban: Where Dan Williams stands as the Cardinals push their second-year nose tackle to improve his conditioning.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reflects on Robert Quinn's long-awaited NFL debut. Coats: "Because of NCAA sanctions handed down after his sophomore season at the University of North Carolina, the Rams' first-round draft choice hadn't suited up for a football game since December 2009."

Also from Coats: Ron Bartell, James Laurinaitis and James Hall are among the injured Rams players expected back on the practice field this week.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' work is only beginning despite a solid showing in the first preseason game. Thomas: "From a St. Louis perspective, if there are any clouds in an otherwise sunny picture, it's at wide receiver and cornerback, positions where injuries have cropped up."

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch thinks the Rams' aggressive mindset, on display against Indianapolis in the first preseason game, will serve them well. Miklasz: "They were surprisingly sharp and in the mood to attack. Head coach Steve Spagnuolo and assistants obviously have ratcheted up the urgency, which is the right approach for the shortened period of preparation. This isn't a normal preseason. This year it doesn't make sense to take the customary, casual approach to these rehearsals."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com looks back on the team's victory over the Colts.

Also from Wagoner: Josh Brown's long-range ability on field goals.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com describes the 49ers' attempts to recreate the drive leading to "The Catch" for fans watching practice at Candlestick Park. Maiocco: "Rookie outside linebacker Aldon Smith deflected Alex Smith's pass at the line of scrimmage on third-and-goal from the 2, which prevented what should've been an easy touchdown pass to tight end Vernon Davis. He also batted down an earlier pass on first-and-goal from the 10."

Also from Maiocco: Alex Smith is not taking the starting quarterback's job for granted.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee has this to say about Daunte Culpepper's scheduled workout with the 49ers: "He started for the UFL's Sacramento Mountain Lions last year. "It's an opportunity to look at a veteran quarterback, put a third guy on the roster who's been there before and has game experience," [Jim] Harbaugh said. "So, see where he's at physically, see where he's at mentally, emotionally and having a workout. Looking forward to a good workout."

Taylor Price of 49ers.com says the team worked on picking up blitzes during practice Sunday after a rough outing in that area Friday night.

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat joins fans in mocking Smith as Joe Montana in recreating the famous 1982 drive. Cohn: "Harbaugh is trying to sell the organization and himself on Smith. He can’t fool the Faithful." I think Harbaugh hopes to get through one season with Smith as one of his quarterbacks and likely the starter while Colin Kaepernick develops. The commitment is for one season.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News offers transcripts from interviews with Harbaugh and Smith. Smith is wearing a new face mask this season, one offering greater vision now that the quarterback isn't scrambling as much.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says Braylon Edwards impressed fans on Sunday with a one-handed catch.

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