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Monday, August 9, 2010
Around the NFC West: Leinart's progress

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Greg Toler stepped up for the Cardinals on Saturday, but Matt Leinart had a rough outing. Somers: "Leinart had played well in the three practices before Saturday. He struggled Saturday and can't afford to keep missing on deep passes to Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston. It's hard to draw too many definitive judgments based on Saturday because the protection was poor." Leinart did not stand out positively or negatively when I watched Cardinals practices. And when coach Ken Whisenhunt points to the Tennessee game last season as evidence of Leinart's potential, we should note that Leinart, while generally efficient, finished that game with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Can Leinart make more of a positive difference when it matters? Fair question.

Also from Somers: praise for Leinart heading into Saturday. Somers: "He appears to be making the proper reads and his throws have been more accurate. On a side note, parts of the off-season were difficult for Leinart. His father Bob had quadruple bypass surgery and had a stroke while on the operating table. He has recovered from the operation and the stroke and Mr. Leinart looks great and shows no effects from the stroke. There was a significant rehab process involved. Leinart regularly traveled back home to Southern California to be with his dad but still managed to regularly attend off-season workouts."

More from Somers: Beanie Wells' comfort zone.

More yet from Somers: Rookie receiver Stephen Williams has caught the Cardinals' attention.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com expects Wells to finish the 2010 season with more carries than Tim Hightower. Urban: "For now, Tim Hightower remains running with the No. 1, but Beanie Wells has gotten reps with the starters. It truly feels like a split situation, which is probably how it will be during the season (although Beanie will end up with more carries, I am sure)."

Also from Urban: Cardinals receiver Early Doucet is banged up.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides a scrimmage report on the Rams' rookies, including Rodger Saffold. Coats: "Saffold manned the all-important left-tackle spot with the first-team offense without incident. Defensive end George Selvie, a seventh-round selection, recorded two sacks. And cornerback Jerome Murphy, a third-rounder, was one of the most productive tacklers."

Also from Coats: Rams cornerback Kevin Dockery looks like the favorite to fill the nickel role.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Sam Bradford enjoyed a strong showing in the Rams' scrimmage.

Also from Thomas: Rams rookie Mardy Gilyard avoided serious injury, but he could sit out a couple days.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Bradford should be getting more reps in practice.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says Bradford did get the most snaps among quarterbacks during the Rams' scrimmage.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times offers notes from the Seahawks' scrimmage Sunday, including this one: "Leon Washington took part in the scrimmage, and his comeback proceeds quickly. He showed his quick-cutting ability, cutting upfield, then making a juke at the second level and continuing on downfield."

Percy Allen of the Seattle Times says Lawyer Milloy is looking forward to an expanded role in 2010.

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says Dexter Davis was among the Seattle players to stand out Sunday. Johns: "Davis, converting to outside linebacker from his defensive end position at Arizona State, got a lot of pressure on the quarterbacks -- including one sack of (Charlie) Whitehurst -- and seemed to move well in coverage."

Also from Johns: Marcus Trufant is bouncing back from a down season.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune sizes up Seahawks rookie left tackle Russell Okung. Chris Clemons: "He hasn’t really been thrown in the fire yet. You never know what will happen until that first game, and he’s going to need to stay mentally focused. But I think he’s going to be a really, really good left tackle in this league."

John Morgan of Field Gulls takes a look at which players Seattle might keep on its 53-man roster.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald says Justin Forsett appears to hold an edge over Julius Jones at running back for Seattle.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Deon Butler and Red Bryant might be the most improved players on the Seahawks this offseason, according to coach Pete Carroll.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers did not need to make a corresponding roster move after signing San Jose State receiver Kevin Jurovich because the team went to camp with only 79 players (nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin remains unsigned).

Also from Maiocco: a report on Jerry Rice from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

More from Maiocco: Steve Young and Joe Montana were together in Canton.

More yet from Maiocco: ranking Rice's 10 best performances.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee passes along thoughts from 49ers defensive players regarding rookie tackle Anthony Davis. Demetric Evans: "I think he's a guy that's learning. I think he's physical, he's got strong hands. I could tell he really dominated in college because his technique is such that he likes to get his hands on you and stop your momentum. And I know he must have done a lot of that in college. He's going to have to work on his technique a little bit because guys are a lot stronger and a lot more athletic. But for the most part, he's living up to the first-round pick."

Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat looks at 49ers players whose stock might have declined recently. He puts Ted Ginn Jr. on the list for occasional dropped passes. I thought Ginn looked good overall over the past several days.

Also from Barber: rookie Kyle Williams is among 49ers players whose stock might be rising.

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat questions whether Alex Smith can be more than a game manager for the 49ers.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers' 2010 draft class shows the team -- and coach Mike Singletary in particular -- are open to giving players second chances.

Also from Brown: a transcript featuring Smith's comments following a recent practice.

Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle checks in with Davis, the 49ers' rookie tackle.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says 49ers rookie quarterback Jarrett Brown showed off a strong arm in practice recently.