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Saturday, June 13, 2009
Around the NFC West: Burleson trains in Arizona

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Nate Burleson is headed to Arizona for a month-long workout program at Athletes Performance. Burleson, who is from Seattle: "I want to go into this last year in the best shape of my career. And I know if I'm out here I might have some distractions. I might be tempted to travel or be tempted to vacate. But if I'm in Arizona and I'm working out five times a week, twice a day, I'm not going to be tempted to go anywhere because it's what I have to do."

Also from Williams: Seahawks offensive coordinator Greg Knapp says he believes a team has to "platoon the [running] backs" to keep them fresh. Not that the Seahawks have a runner established enough to command nearly all the carries.

Gregg Bell of the Associated Press quotes Seahawks cornerback Kelly Jennings as saying he's "not sure" about his role for the upcoming season. Ken Lucas is starting ahead of him. Jennings: "Beginning of last season, I definitely didn't play the way I had hoped to. Now that the change has been made, it's more competition. It kind of helps me heighten my senses and know I've got to really bear down and show what I can do." 

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks expect Walter Jones, Patrick Kerney and all their rehabbing players to practice when training camp opens.

Also from O'Neil: Seahawks receiver Deon Butler runs in Aaron Curry's shadow when the two hang out away from the field. Butler: "People think I'm like his homeboy from Fayetteville. ... They're like, 'You play football?' "

More from O'Neil: a look at tight ends, fullbacks and linebackers battling in practice. John Carlson continues to impress. O'Neil: "Carlson made a ridiculous catch while being defended by linebacker Leroy Hill. It was a diving catch, in which Carlson deadened and controlled the ball with one hand -- his left hand no less -- before cradling it with two arms. Earlier in the drill, Carlson got by rookie linebacker Aaron Curry and turned on the jets."

Samuel Lam of examiner.com checks in with quarterback Alex Smith and linebacker Patrick Willis of the 49ers. Willis on life under defensive coordinator Greg Manusky: "I think our whole approach to how we work, how we execute with attention to detail is a lot different than it has been. We have a little bit more freedom to do our thing. Before it was a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It's his third year now as defensive coordinator and with time we get better. We have a lot of guys that want to do well and want to be one of the best defenses in the league, if not the best."

Demetric Evans of the 49ers blogs about his golf game and how he wanted the Nuggets to reach the NBA Finals so he could see Chauncey Billups play.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider quotes Mike Martz on NFL Network. Martz offers pointers to Alex Smith while using the word "subpar" to describe some of the 49ers' receivers last season.

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says it's tough to know which quarterback is leading the 49ers' competition.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers' new offense isn't a boring one. Barrows: "I can report that the O is not nearly as bland as initially thought. The 49ers have worked on four-receiver package this past week. There are lots of passes between 20 and 40 yards. There's even a dash of razzle dazzle thrown in. And most important, they're making progress." It's the play calling that tends to determine whether an offense is daring, boring or somewhere in between.

Tim Klutsarits of examiner.com offers an appreciation for retiring former Rams quarterback Trent Green. Klutsarits: "What will go underrated in Green's career was his sense of confidence that he gave to the teams he played for. I heard Kurt Warner in an interview on WXOS less than a week ago say that Trent was more important to that Super Bowl Championship season than people give him credit for. He had that offense up and humming and had installed the belief that they were going to be a dominant offense long before Warner took over."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com expects little Cardinals news in the coming weeks, although he does point to a report about Luke Palko, brother of Tyler, joining the team as a scout. Luke Palko had been interning as a scout with the Steelers.

Also from Urban: The Cardinals have signed both seventh-round choices. He notes that the Cardinals will have to release a player each time they sign another choice as they comply with the 80-man roster limit.

Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind sizes up the Cardinals' situation at cornerback. It's an improved situation.