Around the NFC West: O'Sullivan big 'Lost' fan

September, 5, 2008
9/05/08
9:04
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle takes a closer look at 49ers quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, a huge "Lost" fan whose favorite movies include "The Big Lebowski" and "North Shore" (a 1987 surfer film). This is the best story I've read about O'Sullivan.

Also from FitzGerald: says the 49ers haven't announced a starting receiver opposite Isaac Bruce. He lists Bryant Johnson and Arnaz Battle as likely candidates.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic wonders if Plaxico Burress' new deal with the Giants becomes a blueprint for what Boldin might get from the Cardinals. Both players have the same agent. Burress had three years remaining on his existing deal, as does Boldin.

Also from Somers: Arizona readies itself to face O'Sullivan, and Watson might need a couple weeks of practice before returning.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are focusing on Eagles running back Brian Westbrook. Defensive back Ron Bartell called Westbrook one of the top three backs in the league. Last season, Westbrook joined former Ram Marshall Faulk and current Ram Steven Jackson as the only players in NFL history with 1,300 yards rushing and 750 yards receiving in the same season.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat reports the Rams' Jackson says he'll have no trouble carrying a heavy load against the Eagles. Has a running back ever said he didn't want the ball?

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer explains why the Seahawks like kicker Olindo Mare. It's the touchbacks.

Also from Farnsworth: Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck appeared much sharper in his second full practice since returning from a back injury. 

Mitch Levy of KJR radio in Seattle hosts the Seahawks Round Table with Farnsworth and Hugh Millen. This is an audio file.

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals need to show more mettle on the road this season.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the team could be without its first- and third-team nose tackles. Gabe Watson and Alan Branch are injured.

Also from Urban: Kurt Warner has been working on ball security.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams rookie linebacker Chris Chamberlain, a player we profiled during camp. Also, tight end Anthony Becht is back from injury, but rookie receiver Donnie Avery remains sidelined.

Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks the 49ers are going out of their way to trash Alex Smith, most recently by saying the quarterback cannot return as a backup.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee describes 49ers receiver Bryant Johnson as having emerged from the shadows of former teammates Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Johnson stays in close contact with Boldin. He speaks with Fitzgerald less frequently.

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News also checks in with the 49ers' Johnson, noting that three receivers had at least 60 catches in Mike Martz's system last season.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren has been pushing rookie tight end John Carlson. Holmgren loves having a versatile tight end.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune also checks in with Carlson. Also, special-teams coach Bruce DeHaven returns to Buffalo, while Seahawks right tackle Ray Willis expects a tought test from the Bills.

Scott Johnson of the Everett Herald says the Seahawks have paid a price for letting snapper J.P. Darche sign with Kansas City. Holmgren: "What you learn is: if you get one, you try and keep him. You pay him and keep him around." 

The 49ers' Web site carries a Q-and-A with coach Mike Nolan, who describes his defense as a hybrid that spent last season switching from 3-4 to 4-3 and back. Also, safety Dashon Goldson will continue to play in the nickel and dime packages while Mark Roman starts. 

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals' losses to the 49ers stung last season. San Francisco seemed to be a different team against Arizona.

Also from Tulumello: Warner's emphasis on ball security, and other notes.

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