Around the NFC West: The pressure's on

June, 14, 2012
6/14/12
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St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn finished his rookie season with five sacks.

Two other NFC West teams had a rookie with more (Aldon Smith 14, Sam Acho seven).

It's not that Quinn disappointed as a first-round choice, but the Rams expect much more from him now that Quinn is the starter.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Quinn must improve his play against the run. Thomas: "With Jeff Fisher now on board as head coach, James Hall no longer on the team and a new defensive scheme in place, there will be no easing Quinn into action in 2012. He is the team's starting right end, and a full-time player. To say expectations are sky-high for him at Rams Park almost is an understatement."

Also from Thomas: The Rams are expected to sign former Washington Redskins linebacker Rocky McIntosh. Noted: Linebacker was a position the Rams didn't significantly address through the draft. They had too many needs to address them all.

More from Thomas: a closer look at Rams rookie running back Isaiah Pead.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Steven Jackson put the pressure on rookie receiver Brian Quick. Burwell: "When someone with Jackson's stature calls you out like that, it's not intended to be an insult. It's actually a compliment. It was his way of providing a sense of urgency to the kid who certainly looks the part of a stud wideout the minute you lay eyes on him on the football field. Quick looks even bigger than 6 feet 3 when he walks onto the field and plays even bigger, too. He goes up in the air like a basketball small forward and snatches the football out of the air like a power forward and he can glide down the sidelines like a long-striding sprinter."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com contrasts the excitement over Brian Banks' minicamp tryout with long odds before the linebacker. Linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr.: "This is the NFL -- the best of the best -- so it’s going to be really tough for him. Just the fact that he came out here and gave it a shot and didn’t shy away from it, you’ve got to give him a plus for that. But again, this is the best of the best, the highest level of athlete, and he’s been out of it for 10 years. So it’s going to be really, really tough. … Right now, he has a chance. But it’s going to be really, really tough."

Also from Farnsworth: high expectations for Seattle's defense.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times checks in with Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice, a player the Seahawks are counting on. O'Neil: "The Seahawks didn't add any front-line receivers. Oh, they'll give Antonio Bryant a kick of the tires and test-drive a few undrafted rookies, but a year after signing Rice to headline their wide-receiving corps, this offseason amounted to a vote of confidence that the Seahawks believe they have the ingredients for an effective passing attack with Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Mike Williams." Noted: I'd put Kris Durham and Ricardo Lockette in that group, possibly at the expense of Williams, depending upon how training camp goes.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Matt Flynn enjoyed a strong day Wednesday at Seahawks camp.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says promising rookie running back Robert Turbin overcame quite a bit to reach the NFL. Turbin: "I think everybody is going to have things they have to go through in life. I think that people who have the hardest time are those who don’t have a goal, who don’t know what they want to do or what they want to be. For me, regardless what might be going on in my life, I always knew exactly what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be: a great football player."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic calls the Cardinals' FanFest a big success, on and off the field. Ryan Williams' return was a huge plus. Somers: "Coach Ken Whisenhunt said it was a significant step for Williams. The coach also lauded Michael Floyd, the first round pick, for catching a long pass. The quarterbacks, Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, each had their good and bad moments. It's hard to judge them based on these practices because players aren't wearing pads and there is no contact."

Also from Somers: The Cardinals could use some offensive leadership beyond Larry Fitzgerald. Somers: "To coach Ken Whisenhunt, however, there isn't a dearth of leadership on offense. He's confident that some already have emerged behind the scenes -- tight end Jeff King, center Lyle Sendlein, guard Daryn Colledge and tackle Levi Brown, for example -- and that others, like whoever starts at quarterback, have the character traits to do so."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers notes from FanFest, including this Whisenhunt quote regarding Williams: "He looked good. You forget his quickness, his vision. There is always a little trepidation on your first action like that. It was good to get it out of the way. Now it’s out of his head."

Also from Urban: Rookie corner Jamell Fleming is looking good.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com asks whether becoming an every-down player will lead to more sacks for outside linebacker Aldon Smith. Noted: Smith should be able to find a rhythm easier while playing additional downs. He'll have an opportunity to set up opponents a little more.

Also from Maiocco: notes from 49ers practice.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee looks at which 49ers are impressing during camp. Barrows: "The group of 49ers who have consistently made plays this spring includes Vernon Davis on offense and cornerback Perrish Cox on defense. Cox, however, had scare today when he collided with safety C.J. Spillman while breaking up an end-zone pass to Crabtree. He was slow to get to his feet but eventually re-joined the practice."

Also from Barrows: notes on the defense, from coordinator Vic Fangio.

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