Around the NFC West: Two all-time Cards

June, 28, 2012
6/28/12
8:00
AM ET
Two Arizona Cardinals mainstays, Adrian Wilson and Larry Fitzgerald, kick off this Thursday in the NFC West.

The team's latest offering in a series of well-produced videos profiles Wilson on and off the field. We see footage of a young, skinny Wilson playing high school basketball in High Point, N.C. We see the much more fearsome-looking current version leveling opponents on the football field. We see Wilson at the clothing store he owns in Arizona.

Watching this video should get any football fan anxious for the season. Wilson ranks high on a short list of NFC West players I've enjoyed watching the most over the past decade. He played well last season and expects to play faster in 2012 now that he has a firmer grasp of the defense Ray Horton installed on short notice a year ago.

Meanwhile, Fitzgerald was putting into perspective his standing as the seventh-rated player on NFL Network's Top 100 list, as voted on by current players.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com has the word from Fitzgerald: "Having been voted a Top 10 NFL player for the 2012 season is a cherished honor because the selection was made by my peers, and a player can have no greater accolade nor satisfaction than knowing that those he lines up against for 60 minutes every week value to the highest degree his talent, competitiveness, effort, productivity and achievement. I've completed 8 NFL seasons, & while I am somewhat satisfied with personal achievements, I have come close only once to achieving the ultimate team goal. Being a productive WR is no longer enough. I’ve grown into a position of leadership as a Cardinals team captain and have tried to expand my role as a mentor and example for our core of young players." The message continues with Fitzgerald's thoughts about returning to the championship stage.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals players following their participation in the rookie symposium. Michael Vick and Pacman Jones were among the speakers. Rookie Michael Floyd: "To hear a couple guys like that talk about their life journey and to hear their stories was a big eye-opening experience."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com has the details on Todd Brunner's hiring to replace Charlie Jackson as area scout for the Northeast. Noted: Brunner worked for the San Francisco 49ers from for the last decade. His former boss with the 49ers, Scot McCloughan, is entering his third season as a senior personnel executive with Seattle.

Also from Farnsworth: All Seahawks players are finished at the team's facility until training camp now that undrafted rookies have departed.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times takes a look at the Seahawks' depth on the offensive line. O'Neil: "2011 showed that you never know where you're going to find -- or for that matter need -- able-bodied hosses to hold down the line. How many people projected Breno Giacomini to play such a significant role in 2011? ... And then there was [Paul] McQuistan, who didn't finish 2009 on an NFL roster."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says Patrick Willis jumped from 23rd last year to 10th this year on the NFL Network's Top 100 list. Justin Smith was 17th after (somehow) not appearing on the list a year earlier. Noted: Every list will have oversights. It's unfathomable to think Smith did not appear a year ago. Maiocco notes that Frank Gore (28th), Vernon Davis (43rd), Joe Staley (67th), Carlos Rogers (69th) and NaVorro Bowman (85th) joined Smith and Willis on the list this year.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says various 49ers players are working out with a former kickboxing champion.

Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News explains why Santa Clara City Council members approved Joe Montana's plan for a hotel and restaurant near the 49ers' planned stadium. Rosenberg: "Councilwoman Lisa Gillmor, another stadium backer, said she was 'perplexed' and found it 'unbelievable' that anyone would oppose the idea. She said the land has been sitting vacant for years without interest, and now they have an opportunity to bring some 'star power' to the area."

Ryan Van Bibber of Turf Show Times sorts through the Rams' options at outside linebacker. Van Bibber: "The truth of the matter is that the linebacking picture will always be something of a rotating image, with the notable exception of [James] Laurinaitis in the middle. You can count on seeing the nickel package often, and with it an extra defensive back. Hopefully, improvements in the middle of the defensive line and in the secondary limit the exposure of the outside linebackers. Chris Long and Robert Quinn could stand to improve in run defense as well." Noted: Outside linebacker figures to remain a weakness for the Rams simply because they could not realistically funnel sufficient resources toward every position. More on this subject in a bit.

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