Friday, September 17, 2010
Around the NFC West: Rams' pressure 'D'
By Mike Sando
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' blitzing ways have roots with the late Jim Johnson. Coats: "The Rams blitzed on 30 of the Cardinals' 64 plays. Conversely, the Big Red defenders, renowned as aggressive blitzers, brought extra rushers on just 25 of the Rams' 81 snaps. Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson absorbed a nasty beating. He was sacked only twice but was whacked about 10 other times. Defensive end Chris Long alone was credited with three quarterback hits." The Cardinals were not a big blitz team last season.
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch thinks the Rams should make a play for San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson. I wouldn't give up high draft choices for him.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Steven Jackson is looking forward to a heavier workload in the running game. Jackson: "In this league a four-yard gain is a very positive play. People would like for every run to be a big gain or a touchdown for 67 yards, but realistically, that just doesn't happen in this league. You have to be patient. You have to continue to wear a team down, and you have to see what they're trying to take away and what they're going to give."
Also from Thomas: The Rams brought back tight end Darcy Johnson.
Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says the Rams were pleased with rookie left tackle Rodger Saffold in the opener. They should have been. Neither offensive tackle was a storyline after the game, a departure from early in the preseason.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com offers injury notes from Rams practice.
Also from Wagoner: Chris Long's dad played for Oakland, but the younger Long will keep his focus on football when visiting the Raiders in Week 2. Chris Long: "I didn't grow up there really. But again, I'm very appreciative of their fan base. Any time I've been around people who are Raiders fans, they've always been great to my family."
More from Wagoner: Danny Amendola welcomes the additional reps he's getting.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald says Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck once pretended he couldn't hear the play call in order to call his own play. Hasselbeck: "What I failed to realize is that the other quarterbacks on the sideline have the headset, so you have to get in unison on that one."
Also from Boyle: Seattle likes what it sees -- so far -- from a reconfigured defensive line.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team is bigger, faster and stronger -- and Week 2 opponent Denver noticed the faster part. Josh McDaniels: "We told the team (Wednesday) morning, 'Things happen in a hurry when you play Seattle.' There was no better example of that than last weekend."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times passes along quotes from offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates. Bates on the running game: "We're going to keep working at it. We're going to keep running the ball. You've got to be balanced in this league. It's tough to just be one-dimensional. I think our guys are coming together. We're still a new operation, but the communication and all that's working out and we're going to run the ball this weekend."
Also from O'Neil: Red Bryant is looking good at defensive end. Nose tackle Colin Cole: "Offensive tackles are used to going against those 230-, 250-, 270-pound defensive ends. You put somebody that's got 100 to 70 pounds more than they're used to, it's a strength that they're not used to playing against. (Red's) not a guy that's weak by any means of the word. Not only is he big, but he's a strong, physical guy that plays that way. He's definitely an asset."
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says Bryant's father-in-law, Jacob Green, watched from the Qwest Field stands while Bryant collected the first sack of his NFL career. Johns: "Jacob Green, of course, was a far different defensive end from young Red. At 6-3, 252 pounds, he was a speed rusher who racked up a franchise-record 116 sacks from 1980-91, the third-most in the NFL in that span behind only Lawrence Taylor and Reggie White."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune offers a podcast featuring Seahawks-related thoughts from draft analyst Rob Rang.
Also from Williams: The Broncos' experienced secondary presents challenges for Hasselbeck.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' problems scoring points might have been more of a Week 1 phenomenon than a telling indicator. Somers: "There was an average of 36.6 points scored in games last week. It was the second-lowest-scoring week since the league expanded in 2002, according to the New York Times, which received the information from Elias Sports Bureau. The Cardinals and their opponent Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons, are searching this week for ways to put some punch in their offenses. The Falcons lost 15-9 in overtime to the Steelers, and the Cardinals won 17-13, their lowest point total in a victory during Ken Whisenhunt's four-year tenure."
Also from Somers: Undrafted rookie free agent Stephen Williams is getting a big chance to prove himself. Williams on Week 1: "It was a different tempo, a lot faster, more aggressive. I've seen now the real NFL. My first snap, I was in awe."
More from Somers: The Cardinals still do not know whether Beanie Wells will play in Week 2. Receiver Early Doucet is out, however. Doucet needs hernia surgery and will miss 3-6 weeks. Somers: "There will be some changes in the receiver rotation this week. With Doucet out, Stephen Williams will move up to the No. 3 role, and it's possible rookie Andre Roberts could replace Max Komar in the No. 4 slot. Roberts has recovered enough from a shoulder injury to earn consideration for the spot, and it seems as if the Cardinals are going give him a chance."
More yet from Somers: thoughts on Derek Anderson's toughness.
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says Steve Breaston isn't the demonstrative type. Bickley: "Breaston's professionalism will help him get the contract he desires, and he deserves to be next on the Cardinals' long-term priority list. In his first game after inheriting Anquan Boldin's position, Breaston played exactly the type of game that would have made his predecessor proud. This week in Atlanta, he'll be ready to return punts if necessary, no questions asked."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Darnell Dockett is eager to play in Atlanta, near where he grew up. His grandmother plans to attend the game. Dockett: "I get to play in front of my grandmother and all the friends I grew up with and I’m looking for some other people I grew up with, like the neighbor who always called the police on me. I’m trying to get her tickets to the game too so she can watch me." That is vintage Dockett.
Also from Urban: The Cardinals' defense wore down while playing 81 snaps in Week 1. Safety Kerry Rhodes: "We had some chances to give up. We had people cramping up, people not on the field having to rotate some others in. But it shows our depth and that we play for each other."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers face questions in the return game following Ted Ginn Jr.'s injury.
Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat offers a few notes from 49ers practice. Cornerback Will James did not practice.
Also from Branch: Alex Smith is wearing a wristband with plays written on it, an indication as to how the 49ers plan to address their play-calling issues. Smith: "Like I said, I think it's something that we've gotten away with at times in the past, especially last year, you know, just battling it and hurried at the line of scrimmage and we've gotten away with it at times. But I think over the long run, it hurts you. You have less operation time at the line of scrimmage, you're burning timeouts. You're taking unnecessary penalties in key situations. All those things add up."
More from Branch: Smith dismisses details of the 49ers' play-calling issues, as reported by Yahoo Sports. Smith: "I'm not going to lie. I found most of the article pretty ridiculous. Stuff that I had absolutely no idea about. Stuff that was news to me -- that players were going to coach Singletary this offseason and had these issues? That's something I certainly had no idea about and I meet with Singletary pretty often. So, no idea. I was completely unaware of. You can ask the rest of my team, but as far as I'm concerned completely coming from nowhere. False."
Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat describes an unusual scene at 49ers headquarters, with Singletary lying on the ground nearby while offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye fielded questions.
Gary Peterson of Bay Area News Group says the 49ers can alleviate their problems by playing well.
Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers will retire Jerry Rice's jersey number Monday night. Also: "Other than backup quarterback David Carr, the only 49ers player on the active roster to sit out Sunday's game was running back Brian Westbrook. Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye said he had planned on using Westbrook as Frank Gore's backup, but when the 49ers fell behind 21-6, the score dictated a shift toward the passing game. Raye said Gore's knowledge of the system and pass-blocking skills kept him on the field."
Also from Brown: more on Singletary's allegations of a "rat" problem.
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle offers the lead of the day: "Mike Singletary got rid of the elephant in the room two weeks ago, only to find the 49ers have a rat problem, too. The former was in regard to Vernon Davis versus Michael Crabtree in an argument during practice. The latter has to do with what Singletary called a "rat" who anonymously criticized offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye in a Yahoo Sports article Tuesday."