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Friday, July 17, 2009
Around the NFC West: Cardinals favored?

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Adam Schein of Foxsports.com likes the Cardinals' chances in 2009. Schein: "Now, I am not going to channel my inner Denny Green and crown the Cards (too easy, I couldn't resist). But stack up the Cards with other competitors. 'Zona is on par with the Eagles, Giants, Bears, or any other team you want to argue. Don't be afraid to hop on board."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says coach Ken Whisenhunt has his eyes on the prize -- the golf prize -- at the annual celebrity tournament near Lake Tahoe. Whisenhunt: "Normally you are focused on playing golf and what you are trying to do, but this is a different arena. There are so many more distractions, whether it is the crowd or even if you are playing with a guy who is a big celebrity. I have never been involved with that in golf, so I am curious to know how I will handle that."

Scott Duke Harris of the Contra Costa Times sizes up former 49ers quarterback as a player in Silicon Valley tech circles.

C.W. Nevius of the San Francisco Chronicle explains why he thinks San Francisco needs the 49ers. Nevius: "A Super Bowl in San Francisco every eight to 10 years? Would that work? Well, let's see, what's the city's No. 1 industry? Why, it is tourism, isn't it? Think that might be a good fit?"

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee takes a look at the 49ers' cornerbacks. He rides to Nate Clements' defense. Barrows: "The truth is that Clements has been very solid for the 49ers. He's a smart player and he's the understood captain of the secondary. He's been very low-keyed with the media, but it's clear he's held in very high esteem by his teammates."

Taylor Price of 49ers.com profiles rookie receiver Michael Crabtree as 49ers training camp approaches. Price: "At the age many children are learning how to run around, then 3-year-old Michael Crabtree was playing organized football."

Also from 49ers.com: Tickets to training camp are no longer available.

Florida Danny of Niners Nation continues to debate Football Outsiders' gloomy assessment of the 49ers. He thinks Manny Lawson's underwhelming production to this point isn't particularly unusual or predictive for a linebacker drafted in the first round.

VanRam of Turf Show Times looks at potential quarterback options for the Rams beyond the 2009 season. You mean there's a chance Marc Bulger won't have a breakout season?

Also from VanRam: A chance to grade the Rams' defensive ends.

More from VanRam: Comparing the 2009 Rams to the 2008 Redskins, another team that made the conversion to a run-oriented West Coast offense. Can Steven Jackson put up Clinton Portis-type numbers?

Tim Klutsarits of Examiner.com says the public is invited to meet Rams executives Billy Devaney and Kevin Demoff during a July 24 reception in St. Louis. Klutsarits: "The event is free and open to the general public, but capacity is limited and you must pre-register for the event here. It will be held at the Missouri Botanical Garden in South St. Louis. The program begins at 8 am. A continental breakfast will be provided along with an opportunity to do some networking, that all begins at 7:30 am. KMOV-TV Sports Director Steve Savard will be hosting the event."

Seahawks.com provides a list of practices open to the public. Fans must register online to attend.

William P. Tomisser of Seahawk Addicts gives 10 reasons why the Seahawks can win the NFC West. Tomisser: "I expect the Seahawks to become a band of demons this year on the field and fueled by the coaches and upper management's enthusiasm, will play above their heads and take back the West from the Arizona Cardinals."

John Morgan of Field Gulls revisits Craig Terrill's 2008 season. Morgan: "Terrill flies off the line and relentlessly attacks his gap. He can disrupt blocking schemes, change a rusher's route and collapse the pocket. He doesn't do any of the three consistently enough to warrant the 459 snaps he participated in 2008." Terrill's playing time increased significantly from 2006 to 2007, surpassing 50 percent, before falling off a bit last season.