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Thursday, October 28, 2010
Around the NFC West: Fitz's frustrations

By Mike Sando

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic checks in with a frustrated Larry Fitzgerald, whose numbers have fallen off amid quarterback issues. Fitzgerald: "I'm human. I want to be successful. I have a burning desire to be great, not just as a player, but as a team, and sometimes my emotions flow over. But as a captain, I have to keep an even keel. I don't want to give bad body language so my teammates don't think I'm not on the same page." Even great receivers usually need good quarterbacks to flourish. The Cardinals have switched from Matt Leinart to Derek Anderson to Max Hall in the past two months. Hall has been the starter long enough to get as many reps as a starter might have gotten during part of training camp.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Hall knows he must improve after leading 25 Cardinals possessions without finding the end zone. Hall: "I'm excited to kind of prove I can play better than that. When you win you get the credit and when you lose you get the blame. I definitely deserve the blame for that one. I didn't play well. I'm looking forward to fixing it."

Also from Somers: Outside linebacker Clark Haggans was the only Cardinals player to miss practice Wednesday. Haggans has a groin injury.

Darren Urban of says Beanie Wells could get more reps amid Tim Hightower's fumbling issues. Urban: "Wells missed the first two games of the season after needing a meniscus repair of his right knee. He has 53 carries in four games -- one more than Hightower, who has played in all six -- for 183 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season in Seattle. Hightower is averaging 5.7 yards per rush (298 yards on 52 carries) but has already lost three fumbles, all coming at crucial times."

Also from Urban: The Cardinals aren't getting enough offensive plays in games to explore their full game plan.

Rod Mar of offers photos from the team's victory over Arizona.

Clare Farnsworth of says the coaching staff gave some players a day off Wednesday. One example: Chester Pitts worked at left guard while starter Ben Hamilton rested.

Also from Farnsworth: a look at the potential matchup between Seahawks receiver Mike Williams and Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Seahawks players sent a prank letter to guard Mike Gibson explaining that Gibson had been fined $25,000 for lifting from his chest the foot of Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett. O'Neil: "Gibson couldn't believe the fine. Neither could quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who called the NFL Players Association on Gibson's behalf to initiate an appeal. But before the team took the field for practice Wednesday, the ruse was revealed."

Also from O'Neil: Golden Tate's role remains limited while the rookie receiver learns the finer points of the pro game. Carroll: "A couple weeks ago he played 20 plays or something and he had four or five mistakes out of those 20 plays so that's more than we want. They're little things, but they're important. There might be a split, there might be depth on a route, recognizing zone versus man and how he adjusts his routes and things like that. It's just holding him back a little bit. It's just a matter of time."

Greg Johns of checks in with Seattle running backs Quinton Ganther and Marshawn Lynch, who played against one another as childhood friends. Lynch had some fun recalling their time together. Lynch: "I was 11 or 12 and Quinton was like 30. He was the only dude on the Pop Warner team who had a full mustache and a beard. And he used to drive to Pop Warner games. You're not supposed to be doing that. It was crazy." Lynch's sense of humor shines through in quite a few interviews.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with new Rams safety Michael Lewis, who says he's eager to play for Steve Spagnuolo, his former position coach in Philadelphia. Lewis: "He was a technician. He was very technical. He wanted you do things the right way."

Also from Thomas: Former Rams coach Mike Martz will attend the Rams' game Sunday to help retire Isaac Bruce's jersey during a pregame ceremony. Thomas: "Sunday's ceremony will be a culmination of a hectic four days for Bruce. On Thursday, he has dinner with Rams sponsors. On Friday, he meets with the media at Rams Park, and then hosts a party for team staff and players at Rams Park. Friday night is the Celebrate 80 event at Lumiere Place to benefit the Isaac Bruce Foundation -- the event is sold out. On Saturday morning, Bruce will speak to the 2010 Rams squad."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has photographic evidence showing Rams quarterback Sam Bradford held up his end of a bet with teammate Danario Alexander. Bradford had to wear a Missouri football jersey after Alexander's Tigers beat Bradford's Oklahoma Sooners. Bradford did manage to get in a shot at Missouri when asked whether he considered playing there. Bradford: "Absolutely not. I wanted to win Big 12 championships, so I went to Oklahoma."

Nick Wagoner of offers injury updates and notes regarding Rams roster moves.

Also from Wagoner: Bruce on his relationship with St. Louis fans. Bruce: "I think I said one time before that when you become a family like the Rams became family when we were adopted into St. Louis in 1995, you knew that trials and tribulations and tests were going to come but you are always family. You don’t kick family out of the house just because you are going through a situation. You may be going through a downward swing but family is always there for each other. And family is always at its strongest when you are encouraging each other and pulling each other back up to where it should be going."

Matt Maiocco of says the 49ers are seeking a spark with Troy Smith at quarterback. Smith's childhood friend and 49ers teammate, Ted Ginn Jr.: "It'll take some time. We can't expect him to go in and be a Tom Brady. We just want him to go in and be Troy Smith, enjoy his time and make a difference."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers' walk-through session in London attracted about 30 media members.

Taylor Price of updates Troy Smith's situation while noting that Ginn will be playing in Wembley Stadium for the second time as a professional.

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News sets the scene from the 49ers' practice field in the English countryside. Brown: "Here on this converted soccer field located on the lush countryside of a remote luxury resort, Troy Smith took his first snaps as the 49ers' starting quarterback. A few sheep grazed in the distance. A few trees along the sideline had been felled to make room for an NFL-sized field. Things won't be quite so quaint for Smith on Sunday, when he faces the Denver Broncos in front of 85,000 fans at Wembley Stadium."

Also from Brown: 49ers coach Mike Singletary suggests the team is saving Takeo Spikes for later in the season, including for a possible playoff run. Spikes would rather be on the field. The bottom line for the 49ers is that they are working to get younger on defense. Taylor Mays pushed out Michael Lewis at strong safety. NaVorro Bowman is trying to do the same at Spikes' position.

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says Vernon Davis isn't in London to see the sights.