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Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Around the NFC West: Baddest Cardinal?

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic checks in with Tom Pestock, an offensive lineman trying to earn a roster spot with Arizona. Pestock landed on the practice squad and strong safety Adrian Wilson said he wouldn't want to tangle with the little-known lineman. Why? Bickley: "Pestock is 6 feet 6 and listed at 318 pounds. He played college football at Division II Northwest Missouri State. He is a three-time Golden Gloves champion, and a former Jiu-Jitsu champion. He trains at the Lion's Den in Scottsdale as a mixed martial arts fighter and has jumped in the ring for a few unsanctioned fights."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Deuce Lutui is back in the Cardinals' starting lineup despite weight concerns. Somers: "In training camp, Lutui joked that he was the Cardinals' Lindsay Lohan of the summer because of all the bad publicity he received. A restricted free agent, Lutui chose to wait until mid-June to sign his one-year tender of $1.76 million, which didn't please coach Ken Whisenhunt and team management. They feared that Lutui would gain weight, which he did, and made it clear Lutui's job was not secure. The club signed two guards in free agency this year, Alan Faneca and Rex Hadnot, and Lutui spent the preseason playing behind Reggie Wells. But it was also clear from the beginning of camp that Lutui was better than Wells, and that it would be hard for coaches to keep Lutui out of the lineup."

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic passes along a question-and-answer session with Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says rookie Daryl Washington will start at linebacker for Arizona in Week 1. The team has a shortage at linebacker and surplus at cornerback. Urban: "The Cards are clearly still looking to find the right combination in the secondary, which is why they have kept six cornerbacks right now. A.J. Jefferson has upside -- I doubt he’ll be active on game days at first -- and they aren’t sure yet what they have in Brandon McDonald, the newcomer from Cleveland. I am also guessing there will be a lot of nickel and dime looks, like strong safety Adrian Wilson playing in/near the box. That’s one way to not worry about needing too many linebackers." The Cardinals will probably need Wilson near the line of scrimmage against Steven Jackson and the Rams.

Also from Urban: Larry Fitzgerald hopes to ditch his knee brace Sunday, but he might have to wear it.

Ben Malcolmson of seahawks.com lists daily themes installed by new coach Pete Carroll, from "tell the truth Monday" to game day.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com checks in with new defensive lineman Junior Siavii, who has this to say about Seahawks practices: "I tell you, they practice hard here. We were really going out there."

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks are making too many moves right before the regular-season opener.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times compares the Seahawks' roster to past versions, noting that there are 27 new players. Indeed, according to my rosters, Seattle has a league-low 26 players returning from Week 17 last season (counting players who were on injured reserve at that time).

John Morgan of Field Gulls sizes up Siavii and says the newly signed defensive lineman isn't a two-gapping Colin Cole type. Morgan: "I am not happy about losing (Kevin) Vickerson, and do not think Siavii replaces Vickerson, but I do think Siavii is a good player and can contribute."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are expecting contributions from their rookies, and not just from quarterback Sam Bradford.

Also from Thomas: The Rams' regular-season opener is not yet sold out even though Bradford is making his first career start.

More from Thomas: Keenan Burton was the odd man out after the Rams acquired Mark Gibson. The Rams liked Burton but did not value him as one of the six best wide receivers on the team.

More yet from Thomas: a chat transcript featuring this thought on whether the Rams already have the best quarterback in the NFC West: "Very interesting question. And I think the fact that the QB situations in SF and Ariz. are still relatively unsettled means the Rams could make a quick advancement in the standings if Bradford comes along and if the front office continues to build a better supporting cast. Let's face it, there are still more than a couple holes on this team. I still have a lot of respect for (Matt) Hasselbeck in Seattle although it looks like he's nearing the end."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers hope to re-sign Nate Davis to their practice squad. Also, Troy Smith will compete with David Carr for the No. 2 job. Singletary on KNBR radio: "Absolutely. I think that's a very safe thing to say. We're always working to get better and I want our guys to know that now that the season's started we're still on the progression of competing. And the toughest competition should be right here, and that's the push to get better each day." Smith's addition affected more than Davis, in other words. It also signaled uncertainty with what Carr might be able to do in relief.

49ers scout Ethan Waugh explains what the start of the season means to him. Waugh: "I am currently headed to my first game of the season. I’ll be watching West Texas A&M play at Grand Valley State in Allendale, Mich. I have done some background work on Grand Valley State but have not yet seen them live. It should be a competitive game because both teams are powerhouses in Division II and have a number of quality players. We are always looking for diamonds in the rough and hopefully we can find one at the game."

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News compares the 2010 49ers to the 1985 Chicago Bears. Gary Fencik sees similarities but says, "Now I just hope they have a quarterback who can provide as much leadership and as many intangibles as Jim McMahon did for us."