Around the NFC West: 49ers own Cards?

December, 9, 2011
12/09/11
9:35
AM ET
The NFC West rivalry between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers hasn't been much of a rivalry lately.

The Cardinals last defeated the 49ers on Nov. 10, 2008. That was 1,124 days ago.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals' frustration has mounted during a five-game losing streak in the series. Larry Fitzgerald: "Eventually, you have to stand up and fight. Five in a row, enough has to be enough at some point. For it to be a rivalry, you have to beat them sometimes, and sometimes they’re going to beat you. We have to reclaim homefield. They’ve beaten us here the last two years and that’s not supposed to happen." Noted: The last time Arizona won in the series, Kurt Warner passed for 328 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. That game was notorious for other reasons.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals played into the 49ers' hands when the teams last played. Arizona controlled the ball for less than 16 minutes, registering its lowest time of possession for a game since at least 1981. Somers: "That presents offensive coaches with a difficult decision: Do they concentrate on being conservative and call safer plays that minimize the risk of turnovers and brief possessions? Or do they elect to take shots downfield, reasoning that not doing so plays into the 49ers' style?"

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers' contract extension with backup tackle Alex Boone comes as the team tries to re-sign several role players. Maiocco: "Among the players to whom the 49ers are believed to have offered new deals are outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, guard Adam Snyder, linebacker Larry Grant and special-teamer C.J. Spillman."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers have new names for their linebackers, according to defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Barrows: "When Mike Nolan implemented a 3-4 defense in San Francisco several years ago, he called the strong-side inside linebacker -- the one who played on the tight end's side of the field -- 'Ted' and the weak-side inside linebacker 'Mike.' The positions continued to be called that under Mike Singletary. Last year, for example, Patrick Willis was the 'Mike' linebacker and Takeo Spikes was 'Ted.' This year the names are different. The strong-side linebacker is called 'Mike' and the position is played by NaVorro Bowman. The weak-side inside linebacker is called 'Jack' and is played by Willis and now Grant." Noted: The game would improve, in my view, if coaches ever settled on one terminology. Players could learn one language at the youth level and continually perfect it over their careers.

Also from Barrows: 49ers great Joe Perry suffered from brain trauma likely related to his playing career.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers are getting more from their wideouts.

Also from Inman: a music review on a song based around a mantra from 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com checks in with offensive line coach Tom Cable, who has this to say about the recently injured Russell Okung: "Really good. Big time. He was playing like you’d expect a guy you draft that high to play. Particularly the last five or six weeks, I don’t think anybody was playing at his level at that spot. It was just dominant, protecting the quarterback and you can run to him you can run away from him."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the NFL did not consider Okung's injury in determining how much to fine Philadelphia's Trent Cole for throwing Okung to the ground. Coach Pete Carroll: "They can't deal with a violation in terms of kind of the impact it has on the other player. That's not a factor for them."

Bob Stelton and Dave Wyman of 710ESPN Seattle say the Seahawks' Zach Miller is making significant contributions as a blocker.

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle thinks the Seahawks are on track despite their 5-7 record this season and 12-16 record under Carroll.

Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers thoughts as to why the Seattle Seahawks have fared better than the St. Louis Rams despite suffering through similar injury losses. Nelson: "Part of the difference between the two teams is that the Seahawks have sustained their recommitment to the ground game, led by Marshawn Lynch. He has reached 100 yards in four of the last five games, has 591 rushing yards since Week 9 and 854 yards on the ground this season. Seattle has strung together five consecutive games with at least 100 yards rushing as a team, its longest streak since 2005." Noted: Personnel differences are a big part of the disparity. The Seahawks have generally had better replacements.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with injured Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, who says he hasn't thought about finishing the season on injured reserve. Thomas: "For the second day in a row, Tom Brandstater took all the reps in practice with the starters. Kellen Clemens, claimed on waivers Wednesday from Houston, wasn't at practice. He had travel complications and was still en route while the Rams practiced Thursday. So that leaves Clemens with only two practice days -- today and Saturday -- to get ready to play Seattle."

Tony Softli of 101ESPN St. Louis thinks the Rams should protect Bradford by placing him on injured reserve.

D'Marco Farr of 101ESPN St. Louis has this to say about Chris Long's 12-sack season through 12 games: "Long joins the discussion as one of the best left defensive ends the Rams have lined up in St. Louis. Right now, it's a three-man race between Kevin Carter, Leonard Little and Long. Heading into Monday night's matchup with the Seattle Seahawks, Long leads the team with 12 sacks and 18 quarterback hurries. He hasn't missed a game and hardly a series. I smell a big new contract in his future. He's playing like the beast we're all hoping that he turns into, being a consistent threat much like DeMarcus Ware or Jared Allen."

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