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Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Around the NFC West: Singletary missed camp

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers coach Mike Singletary knows about missing camp during a contract dispute. He did it as a player -- twice. Singletary also ruled out any chance of the 49ers signing Michael Vick.

49ers.com provides a transcript of the answers Singletary gave to reporters' questions.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee provides lots of 49ers notes before concluding that the third day of training camp should be pivotal in finding out which players are tough enough to handle Singletary's regimen. Good to know. I'll be there that day.

Taylor Price of 49ers.com checks in with players as they report for training camp. Facility upgrades mean changes to the locker room. Shaun Hill had some fun with it: "Frank Gore has one of the messiest lockers in the history of lockers. So, I'm a little bit excited that I'm no longer next to Frank. But I did move one locker closer to Alex [Smith] and he has the second-messiest locker in the locker room. It is a little bit of an upgrade ... but not much."

David Fucillo of Niners Nation breaks out the dictionary to determine whether 49ers rookie receiver Michael Crabtree is holding out. I think the term is misapplied to unsigned players. We assume both sides have made contract proposals. Either side could end the stalemate by agreeing to the other side's proposal. Does anyone accuse the team of holding out? Exactly. The term is a loaded one.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo decided to hold training camp at the team's facility with an eye toward the fans. Coats: "Spagnuolo 'had the option' for the location of the Rams' camp, GM Billy Devaney said Tuesday. 'And he said, 'You know what? We need to reconnect. I understand that part of the problem around here was not connecting with the fans. At least this year for sure, we've got to stay here.' And I know it kind of went against what he's used to doing. But he gave the fan part of it a lot of importance. And that was his call. If he'd have said, 'I want to go some place [out of town],' we'd have found some place."

Also from Coats: The Rams' situation at wide receiver is wide open. Hard to imagine they'll face Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce as opponents this season.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams running backs coach Sylvester Croom. Thomas: "During Croom's four-year stint as offensive coordinator in Detroit (1997-2000), the Lions earned two playoff berths and had some of the league's most productive offenses with Barry Sanders at running back (until Sanders abruptly retired before the '99 season), and Herman Moore and Johnnie Morton at wide receiver."

Also from Thomas: Rams-related thoughts during his weekly chat. Thomas: "Even with the addition of [Ronald] Curry, I think the WR position remains the biggest question mark on the team. And I seriously wonder if the Rams are even close to having enough at the position to keep defenses honest. Yes, I realize that the return to health of TE Randy McMichael helps, and that Steven Jackson is a good pass-catching at RB. But has [Donnie] Avery shown you enough to convince you that he's a legit No. 1 wideout? Can [Keenan] Burton stay healthy enough to develop into a consistent pass-catcher? Will Curry and [Laurent] Robinson show up when it counts? There are a lot of questions about this group."

VanRam of Turf Show Times suggests best- and worst-case scenarios for the Rams' offensive line. Wait, I thought the worst-case scenario was last season. Or was it 2007?

Tim Klutsarits of examiner.com offers 10 tips for fans visiting Rams training camp. Klutsarits: "If you go to training camp and watch nothing else, I ask you to please watch the one-on-one pass blocking drills between the offensive and defensive lineman. That is by far the most interesting and intense work you will see during an NFL practice." Agreed.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals received their NFC championship rings Tuesday. Meanwhile, negotiations with first-round choice Beanie Wells are expected to continue Wednesday.

Also from Somers: a look at the Cardinals' secondary. Somers: "The real competition will come for the backup jobs. Rashad Johnson, a third-round pick, is going to make the team. He was drafted out of Alabama because he excelled at playing the ball and creating turnovers. Aaron Francisco and Matt Ware return. Both are solid special teams players, especially Francisco. But Francisco is due to make $1.25 million in 2009, so that could be a factor if cap space becomes a concern. It would be hard to part with Francisco, however, because of his special teams prowess."

More from Somers: Ken Whisenhunt's mindset coming off a Super Bowl defeat.

Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind projects locks and bubble players on the Cardinals' 53-man roster. Hard to believe Mike Gandy qualifies as a bubble player, but you never know.

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com offers a tentative Seahawks depth chart heading into training camp. Look for Max Unger to rise from his third-string listing.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune suggests the Seahawks do not necessarily need a highly ranked running game to succeed. The Cardinals, though ranked 32nd in regular-season rushing yards, use
d the running game more effectively during their Super Bowl run.

Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck paid tribute to longtime Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson with this message via Twitter: "Jim Johnson -- one of the best Def Coordinators of all time. Ask any QB."

Mike Parker of Seahawk Addicts says Kelly Jennings must prove he belongs in the Seahawks' secondary.

Adam Caplan of scout.com says the Seahawks worked out veteran offensive linemen Cory Withrow and Grey Ruegamer.

John Morgan of Field Gulls assesses the injury situation on the Seahawks' offensive line. I'll have a few more thoughts injury-wise as the day progresses.

Also from Morgan: thoughts on what those offensive line workouts might mean. Might the Seahawks need insurance at center? They might if they weren't sure Unger would sign in time for camp, or if they thought an injury might sideline another player.