Monday, August 16, 2010
Around the NFC West: Fitzgerald frustrated
By Mike Sando
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald is frustrated a knee injury will sideline him because, in Fitzgerald's words, he was enjoying his best camp as a professional. Also quarterback Matt Leinart apologized for missing his postgame media obligations Saturday night, blaming a miscommunication.
Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic says undrafted rookie receiver Stephen Williams has a shot at a roster spot. Williams stood out to me early in Cardinals camp for two reasons: he's unusually rangy at 6-foot-5 and 208 pounds, and he appeared more comfortable than most rookies.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Cardinals backup quarterback Derek Anderson looks good until he throws the ball. Urban: "Anderson was lucky he didn’t throw a third interception (it was dropped). It’s funny, he looks so confident in there. I liked his pocket presence. But the passes just don’t connect. Some of that was his accuracy, a couple of times, the receivers have to make the play." It's early and Anderson should improve as he spends more time in the offense. Interceptions have been a problem for him in the past, however.
Also from Urban: Cardinals rookie quarterback John Skelton looks good.
More from Urban: Second-round draft choice Daryl Washington made a positive statement in his first exhibition game for the Cardinals. Washington will make it tough for the Cardinals to leave him off the field as early as Week 1. It's not as though the Cardinals are stacked at inside linebacker, either. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "He showed up. There were a couple of times I noticed he got stuck on some blocks. He’s going to have an adjustment to the speed of this game and going against some of the bigger guys. When you have the speed he has and can make plays, it’s all about getting him reps."
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' first-team offense struggled Sunday, but quarterback Alex Smith faced no questions about his starting job. Smith: "I felt good, but we didn't get it done. I was getting rid of the ball. For a couple of reasons, me and some of the receivers are off a little bit, just not finishing passes. I've got to get that ironed out."
Also from White: Backup running back Anthony Dixon fared well against the Colts.
Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers' Kyle Williams and Will James were playing well until injuries felled both.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com offers notes from the 49ers' performance Sunday. Maiocco: "Rookie right tackle Anthony Davis and left guard Mike Iupati played the entire first half and saw limited work in the second half with the second stringers. On the 49ers' second possession, Davis was called for a false start and he was beaten by Robert Mathis for a quarterback pressure."
Also from Maiocco: items on the 49ers' first-team offense, first-team defense, second-team offense, second-team defense, second-half offense and second-half defense.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says David Baas and Ricky Jean-Francois looked good for the 49ers, but question marks persisted elsewhere.
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com sees potential for improvement this season on the Seahawks' defense. Rookie cornerback Walter Thurmond has been a surprise in camp. I could see him fighting for a spot in the nickel defense. He would give the Seahawks needed size and a physical presence. The key, of course, is for Thurmond to continue getting stronger physically following knee reconstruction.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times asks what the Seahawks learned from their exhibition opener. Among the answers: "Cornerback Josh Wilson isn't ready to relinquish a starting job. He became a backup last season after the Seahawks signed Ken Lucas only to earn it back. And when training camp opened, Kelly Jennings was working with the first-unit defense. Well, Wilson not only started Saturday's game, but he made a heck of a play to drive on a ball and pick off Vince Young in the first quarter." It's baffling to think Wilson might not have been one of the starters, but also a sign the new staff isn't reading as much into what happened in the past. As noted, the Seahawks have the potential to improve their secondary with Wilson in the lineup and Thurmond coming off the bench. The fact that rookie Earl Thomas can cover well enough to play corner if needed provides additional flexibility.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seahawks rookie Russell Okung fared well in his first exhibition game.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Charlie Whitehurst enhanced his profile with a strong showing at quarterback for Seattle.
John Morgan of Field Gulls lists Whitehurst, defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson and running back Quinton Ganther as "big winners" from the Seahawks' opener.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says injuries have severely limited the Rams at cornerback. Coats: "Three cornerbacks were unavailable: Ron Bartell (ankle), Bradley Fletcher (knee) and Justin King (calf). Then rookie Jerome Murphy went down with an ankle injury in the first minute of the second quarter. Dockery left later with a hip pointer."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says poor pass protection was the Rams' primary concern coming out of their exhibition opener. Thomas: "(Sam) Bradford absorbed four of those sacks on just 17 called pass plays. Getting sacked roughly once every four pass plays isn't a recipe for success. At that rate, Bradford -- or anybody else -- may not make it into November healthy." Or September, for that matter.
Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says the Rams do not plan to "panic" after one rough outing by their offensive line, according to coach Steve Spagnuolo.