Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Around the NFC West: Defending Leavy
By Mike Sando
Mike Pereira of FoxSports.com says NFL referee Bill Leavy did make an error in Super Bowl XL, only to err again when he suggested a fourth-quarter holding call against the Seahawks' Sean Locklear was incorrect. Pereira, the NFL's former director of officiating, had this to say: "Leavy piled on himself by saying that his holding call on Sean Locklear was incorrect. That is not true. It was a hold and should have been called. If anything, you could have made a case that the Steelers were offside and, if the play had been officiated correctly, the penalties would have offset and the down replayed. In any case, the reception would not have been allowed to stand." At this point, I'd like to go back and watch some of those plays again. It's been four years and it's tough to recall each play in detail.
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com looks at comments Seattle receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh made to Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports. Houshmandzadeh: "I came from a team with Chad [Ochocinco] and Chris Henry, where I was the go-to guy. People on the outside might think it was Chad, but those who were there know better -- it was me. Not to discredit anybody, but we didn't have a Chad on [last year's] team, and I wasn't the go-to guy. That confused me." Prepare to be confused again. The Seahawks' new staff obviously doesn't care what Houshmandzadeh or anyone else accomplished previously. Coaches are giving younger players opportunities to win playing time. Houshmandzadeh's comments to Silver validate what I thought I saw during the team's scrimmage Sunday: a receiver unhappy when the ball didn't come his way, to the point where Houshmandzadeh took his time rejoining teammates after the ball went to Deion Branch on the other side of the field.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers "hit a wall" in practice Monday and didn't handle it very well, according to coach Mike Singletary.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers are seeking answers from defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer, who did not attended practices Monday. Singletary: "He and I have to talk and we have to figure some things out. He'll be back." That doesn't sound good.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News quotes Singletary as saying he is "not going into that" when asked about Balmer's situation. Balmer made it clear early in camp that he felt as though he should have gotten more playing time last season. Balmer: "Honestly. Honestly. I have to be truthful. I just felt like ... God! I felt like I was ready. I mean, I felt like I had a good preseason. But it isn't up to me who gets an opportunity, you know what I'm saying? I felt like I was ready, but obviously that wasn't the case. You turn on the preseason film, and you make your own judgment."
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle details changes on the 49ers' offensive line as rookies Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis take their spots in the starting lineup.
Peter King of SI.com qualifies praise for Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, noting that it's too early to write those marks in permanent ink. King: "I still worry. A scrimmage where the quarterback is untouched and knows he's not going to get rapped around is no time to find out if a college phenom is the long-term answer."
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Bradford is well on his way to earning the starting job. Burwell: "The first pick in this year's draft was supposed to be slowly spoon-fed on the demanding challenge of becoming the Rams' starting quarterback. Yet barely two weeks into training camp, instead of a little nibble here and there, the $78-million QB is proving to have a rather voracious appetite for learning. After a sometimes bumpy first week in the NFL, the last six days have been a stunning awakening as he continues to put together eye-opening practice session after eye-opening practice session at such an accelerated pace that (Steve) Spagnuolo's timetable for slowly grooming Bradford into the starter's role might end up being tossed aside before we get halfway through the exhibition season."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says comments from Steve Breaston show the receiver's competitive side. Breaston, when asked about getting frustrated working against Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in practice: "I don’t get frustrated. I beat him sometimes. I ain’t gonna say that, that he locks me down. I get some. I’m not going to short myself here." Rodgers-Cromartie looked good in the practices I watched, but I'll have to side with Breaston in saying the receivers had their moments, too.
Also from azcardinals.com: depth charts.
More from Urban: Beanie Wells should be OK after suffering a rib injury.
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart wants to block out what's being said by outsiders. Leinart: "This camp is a different situation for me, but to be honest, I'm not really worried about anything being said outside. I know I'm doing well. I know the offense has showed a lot of what we can potentially be. I'm just focused on getting better as a quarterback."