Thursday, December 23, 2010
Around the NFC West: Bradford's status
By Mike Sando
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes Sam Bradford as saying he feels good physically heading into Week 16. Linebacker James Laurinaitis: "Sammy boy's doing fine. It's a long season. But to see him, he's still in here having fun, smiling, joking around. So Sam is doing fine. I'd expect him to say the same thing about a rookie wall -- he's going to say it's a myth." Bradford has taken hard hits in recent weeks. He limped back to the huddle at Arizona after injuring an ankle. He took a hit to the knee against Kansas City.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams rookie Darian Stewart has been willing and able to help in multiple ways. Coats: "The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Stewart has dressed for 13 of the Rams' 15 games, including each of the last six. He's on three special-teams units: kickoff coverage, kickoff return and punt return. Lately, he's seen increased work on defense, coming in on certain packages in passing situations."
Also from Thomas: The Rams' game against the 49ers will likely be televised in St. Louis.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com provides an injury update after speaking with Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo. Wagoner: "Michael Hoomanawanui did limited work in practice. Spagnuolo said Hoomanawanui wasn’t able to get in as much work as hoped."
Also from Wagoner: more thoughts on how Bradford is handling the NFL grind. Bradford has played every offensive snap so far this season. Bradford: "Physically I feel great. I really think the weight I added in the offseason has really paid off. My body feels great. I feel probably fresher now than I did in college."
Jonathan Webb of stlouisrams.com says Donnie Jones has been among the Rams' most consistent players.
Brian Stull of 101ESPN St. Louis revisits Bradford's ability to draw the 49ers offside when the teams played earlier this season.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com recounts top 49ers storylines from 2010. Maiocco: "The 49ers were 0-5, and questions were being raised about Mike Singletary's job security. Team president Jed York declared Singletary was his coach, and -- furthermore -- the 49ers would win the NFC West. Bold prediction? Sure. But in the NFC West, it certainly was not inconceivable. Singletary managed to keep the locker room together. The 49ers didn't exactly heat up, they they did win five of their next nine games to get within striking range of the division crown. The 49ers' biggest win of the year up to this point was the ballot June ballot measure that gave the go-ahead for the Santa Clara stadium project to move forward. Now, if the 49ers win their final two games, and the Seahawks lose once, the team will advance to the playoffs and make good on York's guarantee."
Also from Maiocco: He expects Singletary to confirm Troy Smith as the 49ers' starting quarterback.
Taylor Price of 49ers.com looks at the team's performance on third down this season.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News reflects on the 49ers' inability to keep secrets.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News checks in with Singletary's future son-in-law: Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe. Yes, Atogwe admits he was initially intimidated by his future fiance's famously intense father.
Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says there's a gap between Singletary and offensive coordinator Mike Johnson regarding the quarterback situation. Lynch: "That makes Johnson one incredibly out-of-the-loop offensive coordinator, or someone who needs to get his story straight with Singletary before he fields questions about his starting quarterback."
Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Thaddeus Lewis will make his NFL debut for the 49ers on Sunday.
Doug Farrar of Sportspress Northwest says Tampa Bay's youth movement could show the way for Seattle.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com checks in with Leon Washington and Mike Williams regarding which player most deserves consideration as top comeback player this season. Washington came back from a career-threatening leg injury to become one of the most dangerous returners in the NFL. Williams came back from being ... Williams. Williams: "I think that award is about guys who we really have come back, guys who were established players in this league and had a little bit of adversity and bounced back. So, Leon represents that. Wes Welker represents that. … Leon, in my opinion, is even better than I remember him in New York. Just for me, I don’t think I really came back from anything that you can really put your finger on something that I came back from. You could give me 'Comeback Couch Player of the Year.' "
Also from Farnsworth: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wants his team to ignore playoff implications stemming from the San Francisco 49ers' game against the St. Louis Rams.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times quotes Carroll as saying his decision to stick with Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback has nothing to do about the team's feelings for Charlie Whitehurst. That is an impossible position to defend, in my view. If the Seahawks thought Whitehurst gave them a better chance to win, they would play him without reservation. Sticking with Hasselbeck means, at the very least, that the Seahawks do not think Whitehurst would provide an immediate upgrade from a player coming off a four-game stretch with 13 turnovers.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says David Hawthorne has emerged as a force at linebacker for Seattle. Led by Hawthorne, the Seahawks dramatically improved their tackling last week.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald says Carroll plans to track what's happening in the Rams-49ers game without making changes based on what he knows.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says losing receiver Early Doucet should not affect the Cardinals too much because Andre Roberts can slide into the No. 3 role.
Also from Somers: O'Brien Schofield has a chance to get more playing time now that Joey Porter has a strained triceps. Somers: "Schofield is determined to end 2010 on a positive note after the year started with a devastating setback. He suffered a torn left ACL in practice before the Senior Bowl in January. Schofield had 12.5 sacks as a senior, but fell in the draft because of the injury. The Cardinals took him in the fourth round but were unsure if he would contribute this season. He spent the first seven weeks of the season on the reserve-non football injury list, missing six games. Ideally, he would have missed more time, but injuries to other players forced the Cardinals to speed up the timetable." Hitting on Schofield would help offset at least some of the price associated with getting nothing from 2009 second-round choice Cody Brown.
More from Somers: John Skelton wasn't a Cowboys fan even though he grew up in Texas.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com quotes coach Ken Whisenhunt as saying it's important for the team to keep Larry Fitzgerald, whose contract expires following the 2011 season.
Also from Urban: Schofield and rookie linebacker Daryl Washington have a chance to make positive impressions over the final two games.