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Saturday, August 23, 2008
Around the NFC West: Leinart picked off early

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart tossed an interception on his first pass against the Raiders at McAfee Coliseum tonight.

Arizona opened the game using run-oriented personnel: two backs, two tight ends and Larry Fitzgerald as the only wide receiver. Leinart handed off to Edgerrin James on the first play, then went deep to Fitzgerald down the right sideline. Raiders safety Michael Huff picked off the pass.

On defense, Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby has been very active in coverage. He ended the Raiders' first drive with a pass breakup on fourth-and-8. Dansby then made an outstanding grab to pick off Russell on the Raiders' next drive.

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt will not be happy with defensive lineman Darnell Dockett, who drew a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness after Dansby's interception return. Whisenhunt put the penalty-prone Dockett on notice earlier in the offseason. As Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic notes, Whisenhunt removed Dockett from the game after the penalty.

Looking around the division tonight ...

In St. Louis, the Rams' first-team offense has scored a touchdown during an exhibition game for the first time during the Scott Linehan era. Marc Bulger has thrown scoring passes to rookie receiver Keenan Burton and Travis Minor. Bulger, looking for a better performance following a couple of tough ones, has completed 18 of 25 passes for 182 yards and no interceptions. His rating is 119.1. That's a good sign for a Rams offense still playing without Steven Jackson.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee managed to secure a meaningful quote from 49ers receiver Isaac Bruce. Asked how starting quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan compares to other quarterbacks in terms of letting the ball go early, Bruce paused for an extended period before saying: "That's the best question I've had since I've been here. He does have really good accuracy and he fits well into the scheme of things. (long pause) He's got to be doing things really good to be the leader of a Mike Martz offense."

Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers encountered a seemingly relaxed 49ers coach Mike Nolan, who no longer gets asked about which quarterback will start this season.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times has the latest on Seahawks rookie kicker Brandon Coutu, who missed practice with an injury. Coutu and veteran Olindo Mare are competing for a roster spot. An injury of any significance could derail Coutu's chances in the short term.

Frank Hughes of Seahawks Insider looked past bikini-clad women to see Red Bryant putting in a full day's work at practice following an injury.