Saturday, July 31, 2010
Around the NFC West: Waiting games
By Mike Sando
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times sees no signs of protracted contract disputes involving the Seahawks' remaining unsigned draft choices. O'Neil: "In fact, just the opposite. Friday's slew of signings started with left tackle Trent Williams, who plays the same position as (Russell) Okung and was chosen two picks earlier. Eric Berry, the safety chosen fifth by Kansas City, one spot ahead of Okung, also signed. That gives the Seahawks and Okung's agent a good idea for establishing the ceiling for Okung's deal. Similarly, the player picked ahead of (Earl) Thomas in the draft -- defensive end Brandon Graham -- reached a five-year agreement with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. Those deals will help set the parameters in negotiations between Seattle and its two remaining unsigned rookies."
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com asks 10 questions heading into Seahawks training camp. Johns: "The Seahawks ranked 30th in the league in pass defense last year, largely because of the lack of rush (see No. 3 earlier), but also because of some injury woes. That's why two of the most critical players to watch this preseason are cornerback Marcus Trufant and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says during a chat he doesn't think Justin Forsett will reach 1,000 yards this season. Williams: "I don't think Forsett is going to get enough touches to rush for a 1,000. I expect Forsett and (Julius) Jones to split the carries down the middle, with a sprinkling of (Leon) Washington, who likely will contribute more on special teams. But we'll see. If Forsett can stay healthy and get 15-18 rushes a game, it's possible."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic expects the Cardinals to sign first-round choice Dan Williams sooner rather than later. He also says the Cardinals placed inside linebacker Gerald Hayes on the physically unable to perform list. Rookie O'Brien Schofield landed on the non-football injury list. Also, the Cardinals signed a contract to keep their training camp at Northern Arizona University for the next three summers.
Also from Somers: a look at the Cardinals' roster heading into camp. Whisenhunt: "There's going to be a lot of interesting things going on this training camp. There are going to be battles for positions. There are going to be battles for playing time. We're going to get an opportunity to see if some of the young players are ready to step up."
More from Somers: The Cardinals' conditioning test holds special appeal this year. Somers: "Saturday morning's conditioning run usually holds little interest. But guard Deuce Lutui will be on center stage. If he completes the runs in the prescribed time, Deuce can tell everyone that he knew he had things under control at all times. If he doesn't, well, coach Ken Whisenhunt won't be happy. No word on what Deuce is weighing. He's under 396, which he weighed in mid-June, but more than the 340-or so he weighed in December."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the surgery Hayes underwent earlier this offseason was similar to the procedure Monty Beisel underwent a year ago.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes Rams executive Kevin Demoff this way after the team signed rookie Sam Bradford: "I kept hearing during this process, especially early in the process, that maybe Sam didn't want to be here. But I've never heard Sam say anything but how excited he was to be in St. Louis, and how excited he is about the opportunity to help make this team successful again. I talked to Sam earlier tonight, and he's very excited. I'm excited that every fan will want to see the beginning of a new era with him and the Rams and our other new players."
Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Donnie Avery showed up to Rams camp at 193 pounds, reflecting an effort to become stronger and more durable.
Also from Nelson: Rams tight end Fendi Onobun appealed to the team for his natural ability. He needs seasoning.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams guard Roger Allen III, who is back from knee surgery.
Roger Hensley of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch polls colleagues for their thoughts on camp battles for the Rams. Thomas: "As of Thursday, it became clear that the left tackle position was up for grabs between last year’s No. 2 overall pick, Jason Smith, and this year’s second-round pick, Rodger Saffold. The coaching staff likes Saffold’s athleticism as a pass blocker, and Smith isn’t even practicing fully as he comes back from a June fractured toe. At right guard, versatile vet Adam Goldberg enters camp as the favorite, but Hank Fraley and John Greco are in the mix as well. And of course, the No. 1 question entering camp is when does Sam Bradford take the reins from A.J. Feeley at quarterback?" The Rams previously said Saffold projects at right tackle. The team subsequently said Saffold could wind up on the left side. I would think the basic plan remains in place, however. Smith projects as the left tackle unless Saffold appears better suited to the position -- in which case St. Louis used the second overall choice for a right tackle.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says it's only a matter of time before Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati crack the 49ers' starting lineup. Maiocco: "Although coach Mike Singletary said he expects the incumbents to continue to work with the first team at the outset of camp, the rookies will clearly be given their chances to prove themselves. And it's clear both Davis and Iupati have designs on earning their way into the starting lineup sooner than later."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee updates the 49ers' rookie signings and says Kyle Williams spent his offseason fielding punts from former NFL mainstay Tom Rouen, 42. Williams: "He's been in the league forever. He told me a lot about what punters are going to do. He's about 100 years old, but he can still do it."
Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat explains why the 49ers' Taylor Mays waited before signing his rookie deal. Mays didn't want to sign until Jimmy Clausen's deal was done. Barber: "Me and Jimmy actually have the same agent, so it was kind of waiting for Jimmy to get his contract done (with Carolina), so it would kind of be based upon what Jimmy did. That was kind of a little bit of in-house stuff ... I know my agent Gary (Wichard) had to get Jimmy taken care of first."
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says it's time to update the 49ers' roster to reflect the true form of a certain third-round pick's first name. Remember Navorro Bowman? Well, forget about him. Brown: "Bowman clarified that his first name is spelled with a capital V -- as in, NaVorro -- even though it's been written repeatedly in lowercase, including on the 49ers' roster."
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers weren't sure whether franchise player Aubrayo Franklin would report to camp on time.