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Thursday, August 12, 2010
Around the NFC West: Jackson's backup

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch finds one guy who thinks the Rams don't necessarily need to add a veteran running back. Steven Jackson: "Having a veteran at this point of the game now, I don't know if it's as big a concern as everyone is making it to be. I feel great physically. The younger guys are coming along just fine. And if we continue to stay healthy, I don't think it'll be a concern." Jackson has bounced back strong from back surgery, but injuries have affected him in recent seasons. Chris Ogbonnaya did show promise late last season.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams linebacker Larry Grant likes moving to the weak side, away from opposing tight ends. Coats: "Another potential bump in Grant's journey popped up in May, when the Rams acquired linebacker Bobby Carpenter from Dallas for tackle Alex Barron. Carpenter spent the spring with the starters at weakside linebacker. During training camp, though, Grant has supplanted Carpenter at the 'will' position, with James Laurinaitis in the middle and free-agent pickup Na'il Diggs at strongside linebacker, or 'sam.' All three are ex-Buckeyes."

Also from Coats: Steve Spagnuolo took the Rams to a movie.

More from the Post-Dispatch: Oshiomogho Atogwe wants back on the field for the Rams.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Leon Washington keeps making progress toward a successful return from a broken leg. Farnsworth: "If you didn’t know he was coming off a serious injury, you wouldn’t know it by watching him practice."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times revisits Matt Hasselbeck's 2009 season and agrees with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who says the quarterback tried too hard last season. Hasselbeck tried too hard because the team around him wasn't very good. Improve the team and Hasselbeck won't feel the pressure to make plays.

Also from O'Neil: highlights from Seahawks practice Wednesday.

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com checks in with Seattle linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., who says David Hawthorne is a "rising star" at linebacker. Hear that, Leroy Hill?

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune seeks clarification from former Seahawks safety Deon Grant regarding comments about the team's 2009 training camp wearing out players. I do remember players saying they wore down some during camp. That's not a concern this summer.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune offers observations from Seahawks camp. Boling: "I haven’t been to every practice, but I haven’t seen a great deal out of Lawrence Jackson to cause me to jot down notes. What do you think the odds would have been, on the day of the 2008 draft, that fourth-rounder Red Bryant might be starting ahead of first-rounder Jackson?"

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals are making Beanie Wells work to earn the starting job from Tim Hightower. There's plenty of time and also nothing stopping Wells from getting more carries, even if Hightower is the starter. I'd expect Wells to start more games this season if healthy, however. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "Tim is versatile, he's tough, and he runs well with the ball," Whisenhunt said. "And we have a lot more information about Tim in different situations than we do with Beanie. The way we've set things up with our team, Beanie's got to earn that. Beanie's working hard to try to do that. That's what you want."

Also from Somers: Darnell Dockett expects to get a new contract sooner rather than later.

More from Somers: Matt Leinart looked good during the afternoon practice Wednesday. Big deal? Hey, it beats the alternative.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Dockett wants to leave a legacy of hard work.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says receiver Dominique Zeigler continues to impress at 49ers camp. I did see him make impressive catches last week.

Also from Maiocco: The 49ers' reputation for holding tough practices in pads can be misleading sometimes. No question about it. I didn't see anything unusual by NFL standards. Even the nutcracker drills were modified to emphasize technique more strongly, and linemen were not participating.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Michael Crabtree has a sore neck after landing hard in practice.

Also from Barrows: The 49ers are running out of patience with defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer.

Taylor Price of 49ers.com says the team is preparing for the Indianapolis Colts.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News quotes Balmer as saying he plans to return and his absence is overblown. Balmer: "People are making a big deal about nothing. I feel like the 49ers could do a better job of saying that, but it's not my place to say."

Also from Brown: Tony Wragge's thoughts on playing center after Eric Heitmann's injury. Wragge: "I’m ready to go. It is a process of getting reps in practice. Eric was out early in training camp with another injury and David (Baas) was obviously sidelined also. So I got a lot of reps in the first week of double-day, full-pad twice a day. I felt like I took advantage of them and I’m still looking forward to taking an advantage of the opportunities that I get."