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Friday, May 1, 2009
Around the NFC West: Boldin, Dockett show up

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Anquan Boldin showed up at the Cardinals' facility for a physical examination Thursday. Perhaps that means Boldin will participate in the post-draft camp. Darnell Dockett also showed up. The Cardinals' success in the playoffs undermines players' leverage in these situations, I think. Urban: "Now, whether Boldin practices, we'll have to see. He came down with a sore hamstring at last year's minicamp -- about the time his contract issues first reached a boil. There might be some maladies for those seeking new contracts. Again, we will see. At least the drama of a missing guy will be avoided, and I would assume Boldin -- and to a lesser extent, Dockett -- will be tops on the media's interview list after practice." Holding out would not make much sense.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports from Chris "Beanie" Wells' introductory news conference at Cardinals headquarters. Quarterback Kurt Warner stunned Wells by sending a text mesage Saturday welcoming the running back to Arizona. Wells: "I was in shock. Kurt Warner was sending me a text message. I remember a few years ago, I was maybe in the sixth and seventh grade, we were watching the St. Louis-Tennessee Titans Super Bowl, and watching him."

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams quarterback Marc Bulger on the eve of minicamp. Bulger: "Every year, winning cures all. Earlier in my career we were winning and my biggest attribute was that I was steady, low-key, and my teammates knew how much I wanted to win and everything was great. Then all of a sudden, you lose a few years and that's my greatest weakness."

Also from Thomas: "Assuming everyone is on hand today, and this minicamp is still 'voluntary' for the vets, there will be 87 players on the field this morning. Of that group, 47 have one season or less experience on an NFL regular-season roster. Only six of the 87 players are age 30 or older, headed by 34-year-old defensive end Leonard Little."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says the Rams want their veterans to show the rookies how to practice. Tempo is key.

VanRam of Turf Show Times addresses key questions facing the Rams. He thinks Bulger will bounce back this season.

Taylor Price of 49ers.com passes along comments from 49ers rookies as they arrived for post-draft minicamp. Michael Crabtree wasn't sure when he would be cleared to practice after recovering from offseason foot surgery, but he should be ready by training camp.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle expects Crabtree, Glen Coffee and Scott McKillop to contribute immediately as rookies. Crumpacker: "Coffee will back up Frank Gore, McKillop will do the same at inside linebacker behind Takeo Spikes, and Pascoe figures to see playing time initially as a blocking tight end."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says where he thinks the 49ers' rookie free agents fit in. Maiocco on running back Kory Sheets: "Sheets has a real chance to win a roster spot. His primary competition will be Thomas Clayton, the team's leading rusher during the past two exhibition seasons. If Sheets proves his worth, it's possible the 49ers could employ three backs, similar to what the N.Y. Giants had with Jacobs, Ward and Bradshaw."

Also from Maiocco: checking in with the 49ers' draft picks. Coffee appears bigger than his listed weight of 209 pounds.

More from Maiocco: The 49ers haven't spoken to the Panthers about a deal for Julius Peppers, but such a move would be logical.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers rookie Nate Davis compares himself to Donovan McNabb.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Crabtree nearly gave up football for basketbal while in high school. The 49ers are happy Crabtree's father asked the youngster to reconsider.

Also from Brown: Current stories about Crabtree sound strikingly familiar to what people wrote about J.J. Stokes more than a decade ago, including this passage from Clark Judge's story in the Mercury News: "Though [George] Seifert compared Stokes to Dallas All-Pro wide receiver Michael Irvin, the move was reminiscent of the 49ers' 1985 draft-day deal for wide receiver Jerry Rice. Like then, the 49ers are coming off a Super Bowl season. Like then, they have two veteran wide receivers -- Rice and Taylor instead of Dwight Clark and Freddie Solomon. Like then, they struck after two wide receivers -- Michael Westbrook and Joey Galloway instead of Eddie Brown and Al Toon -- disappeared early."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune quotes Seahawks coach Jim Mora on why it's important for Leroy Hill to attend minicamps. As Mora told KJR radio in Seattle: "A majority of what we're doing on defense terminology-wise and assignment-wise will be different than what Leroy has done his first four years here. So, he is missing valuable time when he's not here in order for him to be a productive football player for us on the field next fall. To ask a guy to come in, in a new scheme, a week before the first regular-season game -- which happens a lot of times with these franchise guys -- and be productive is a pipe dream. It just doesn't happen very often."

John Morgan of Field Gulls sketches out how he thinks the Seahawks might use Hill in conjunction with Lofa Tatupu and Aaron Curry.

Michael Steffes of Seahawk Addicts quotes Mora on how Hill could be used, based on what Mora told KJR: "Leroy will play the 'Will', which is the weak inside linebacker position. Aaron will play 'Sam', which is the strong outside linebacker position. The way we structure our defense is that they are both typically off the line of scrimmage, playing behind defensive linemen and using their athletic ability to run. There is not a whole lot of differences in what they do. Some small subtle differences, but you'll see three fast, physical, athletic, linebackers working together, and it will be exciting to see."