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Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Around the NFC West: Awaiting Lutui

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt has exchanged text messages with guard Deuce Lutui, but Lutui has otherwise kept a low profile while staying away from team activities. Somers: "If Lutui is trying to force the Cardinals to trade him, it doesn't appear to be working. General manager Rod Graves said the team is not considering any offers for Lutui. Lutui has been a starter since midway through his rookie season in 2006. Reggie Wells is replacing him in the lineup with Alan Faneca playing left guard, Wells' former position." Somers says Lutui's agent recently visited from Hawaii -- ostensibly to meet with Lutui, but not with Graves.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com quotes Joey Porter as saying the Cardinals' strong veteran attendance at organized team activities should help Arizona build chemistry. Porter: "It helps the team in a season, as far as jelling and as far as coming out of the gates playing well. The more guys you have attending OTAs and minicamps, it’s going to make the team better. When I first started, it wasn’t really mandatory, so you’d have half the team there and half the team not, so you really didn’t know the veteran guys until training camp started. Now, it gives you more time to build the chemistry."



Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says 49ers quarterback Alex Smith is getting more comfortable making protection calls. Also, Alex Boone is getting work at left tackle for the first time since joining the 49ers. Boone is in much better physical condition this offseason. I wonder if he might project as a swing tackle with continued development. Maiocco: "Niners fans might have a recurring nightmare of Smith scrambling to his right and throwing the ball out of bounds under pressure. Now we know what was happening. Smith was not comfortable with the team's protection packages, and often guessed wrong."

Also from Maiocco: David Baas gets some work at center after starting all 16 games at left guard last season.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Michael Crabtree has looked "very sharp" at 49ers practices.

Also from Barrows: more evidence Smith is becoming assertive in some ways.

Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat hits on a familiar theme. Barber: "I know some of you are going to get tired of hearing this, especially in the absence of actual victories, but the 49ers are feeling great about going into the 2010 season with the same offensive system."

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News details the 49ers' efforts to brighten the day for a young patient with terminal cancer. Linebacker Patrick Willis took the lead, but Mike Singletary and Smith were also involved. The boy's father said his son has been "bitter and very unhappy and has been very depressed and hopeless."

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says 49ers rookie Anthony Davis showed a good sense of humor after falling out of his seat during a post-practice interview.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times expects J.P. Losman to compete with third-team quarterback Mike Teel for a roster spot in Seattle. O'Neil: "The move doesn't reshape Seattle's offense. Losman will be competing to make the roster, but it shows Seattle is exploring many options to improve its depth. That's what led Seattle to claim (Mike) Reilly off waivers from St. Louis two weeks ago, taking a look at the undrafted free agent who had spent time with the Steelers, Packers and Rams in his first year out of school."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says superior route running is one reason Mike Williams leads Reggie Williams in the race to earn a roster spot at receiver for Seattle. Farnsworth: "But actually, it’s Mike Williams who has been answering this question since the Seahawks signed him and Reggie after their first minicamp. Mike and Reggie were Top 10 draft choices coming out of USC and Washington -- Mike the 10th overall pick in 2005 by the Detroit Lions and Reggie the ninth pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2004. But neither played in the league last season. This isn’t just another chance for each; it’s likely their last chance. Mike has done a better job of grasping the situation to this point. He’s running better routes and, as a result, making more plays. There’s still plenty of time, but right now it’s up to Reggie to catch Mike."

The Associated Press says authorities in Georgia could move to revoke Leroy Hill's probation, which could lead to a 12-month jail term for the Seattle linebacker. Said a prosecutor: "If I had to say right now, we'd lean toward taking steps to revoke his probation."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams running back Steven Jackson, who says this about his decision to have back surgery: "I decided to have the surgery because I was still in a gray area of needing the surgery or not going with the surgery. I met with three specialists. No one definitely said get surgery. But looking at the season and being able to fully recover from the injury ... April was kind of like the deadline so that I could have a full recovery in June and have six solid weeks to get ready for training camp."