A relatively aggressive approach to personnel acquisition in 2011 did not pay off as intended for the Arizona Cardinals last season.
Newcomers Kevin Kolb and Stewart Bradley struggled to meet high expectations.
It's looking like Bradley, the linebacker Arizona signed from Philadelphia, might pay off for the team, after all.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Bradley is pushing Paris Lenon for a starting job at inside linebacker. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt: "Stewart's making it a tight competition. I certainly respect Paris and how he's played for us and the leadership he brings to the table. Stewart's an athletic player and when he gets it right, he's a good player. And he's gotten a lot more right this year than he did last year." Noted: Lenon has far exceeded reasonable expectations. In retrospect, the Rams should have held onto him. Bradley is six years younger, however.
Also from Somers: Kolb hopes to play Friday night. Somers: "He's also trying to hold off John Skelton for the starting job. It's hard to win a job while on the sideline, especially if Skelton plays well. But Kolb also has pain when he runs full speed. The downside risk to playing is that he could suffer a setback if his mobility is limited. And after all, there are three more preseason games after this one." Noted: If Kolb is as prone to injuries as it appears, he'll have to play through various ailments when the games start counting. The preseason games count quite a bit as long as there's competition for the starting job.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh made an example of receiver Kyle Williams by sending him off the field for fighting. Maiocco: "After practice, Harbaugh and Williams had a brief talk. It's the second time in training camp that Harbaugh has rebuked a player for his on-field actions. Early in camp, he ordered receiver Brian Tyms off the field. It was a rough day for Williams, who earlier in the practice dropped two passes."
Also from Maiocco: A.J. Jenkins shows signs of progress. Maiocco: "It appears unlikely Jenkins will be able to crack the 49ers' regular-season lineup and unseat such proven veterans as Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. So Jenkins' time to shine might be during the four-game exhibition season. His spot on the 53-man roster is not in doubt, but it might be difficult for him to find a role on regular-season game days."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers are quite healthy heading into their first exhibition game.
Also from Barrows: Cory Nelms' Olympic experience.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle sees progress for Crabtree. Branch: "On Monday, 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree practiced for the time since July 27. On Tuesday, he spoke to a group of reporters for the first time since Jan. 22. On Friday, he could play in a preseason game for the first time in … forever."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com offers detailed notes from practice Wednesday, including this comment from Terrell Owens: "Today didn’t go as particularly well as I would like, but it definitely was a step in the right direction. I’ve been rehabbing and working out for the past year since the injury. That’s all I’ve really wanted since I started my trek on this rehab and my journey to get back on the football field, is just an opportunity. That was provided by the Seattle Seahawks and, again, I’m very grateful for that." Noted: Owens showed a couple positive flashes in his first practice. He should have a better feel for the Seahawks' defensive backs after getting a taste of their physical play.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Matt Flynn enjoyed his finest day of camp. O'Neil: "Remember when it seemed like Seattle's question at quarterback was going to overshadow everything else? Well, that was so last week, because Flynn worked exclusively with the first-unit offense on Wednesday and looked the best he has all training camp and when it came time for him to talk to reporters after practice, he had about half the volume of reporters who waited on T.O.'s every word."
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle says Seahawks line coach Tom Cable expects much better results early in the season.
Art Thiel of Sportspress Northwest says Owens will have a hard time redefining himself.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch profiles a few long-shot players for roster spots in St. Louis. Jermelle Cudjo, Matthew Conrath and Nick Johnson are the choices.
Also from Thomas: Barry Richardson is getting first-team reps at right tackle, ahead of Jason Smith. Noted: This is good and bad for the Rams. I'll expand later.
Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sees good things from Rams receiver Austin Pettis, but a suspension to start the season clouds Pettis' immediate future.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com saw good things from the Rams' offense in the red zone Wednesday.
Also from Wagoner: Robert Turner's familiarity with Brian Schottenheimer's offense puts the Rams at an advantage.