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Friday, July 29, 2011
Around the NFC West: Crabtree setback

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the San Francisco 49ers could be without Michael Crabtree for four to six weeks while the receiver recovers from a foot injury suffered during player-organized workouts. Crabtree missed his rookie training camp during a contract dispute. An injury sidelined him quite a bit last summer. The lockout and this latest injury threaten to keep Crabtree off the field for yet another training camp, just as the 49ers are scrambling to install a new offense. So much for developing a rapport with the 49ers' quarterbacks. Barrows: "The exact nature of the injury is not known. The 49ers will place Crabtree on the physically-unable-to-perform list to begin training camp. Also to be placed on the PUP list are rookie fullback Bruce Miller and wideout Dominique Zeigler, who is recovering from an ACL tear suffered last year. Miller's injury is not known at this point."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says this has been a rough week for the 49ers. Maiocco: "I spoke with a source close to Nnamdi Asomugha early Friday and he said that Asomugha was still going through his options. There are some reports that the Cowboys are getting involved, too. If the 49ers do not sign Asomugha, they will be forced to turn to Plan B, which could include Richard Marshall (Carolina), Chris Carr (Baltimore), Carlos Rogers (Washington) and Antonio Cromartie (Jets). Also, if Clements remains on the market, the 49ers could bring him back. And, remember, the 49ers weren't completely satisfied with the play last season of the other starting cornerback, Shawntae Spencer, either."

Also from Maiocco: Joe Nedney plans to retire.

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Crabtree's injury explains why the 49ers considered adding Chad Ochocinco.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News sees the 49ers as a fallback for Asomugha, with the Jets as front-runners.

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle says Colin Kaepernick is eager for camp.

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle has advice for Charlie Whitehurst heading into Seahawks camp. Huard: "Whitehurst has a longer delivery which can be harder to repeat and cause inaccuracy when a pocket collapses on top of him. He can spin it and throw a beautiful deep ball, but to gain the trust of his coaches and his huddle he will have to refine his ball placement, critical in the timing/West Coast system Darrell Bevell is installing."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com offers highlights from Seahawks practice, including one about Red Bryant being back on the field following knee surgery.

Also from Farnsworth: Marcus Trufant is the longest-tenured current Seahawk. Farnsworth: "In fact, 33 of the players on the practice field Thursday were going through their initial workouts with the team."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times provides a Whitehurst interview transcript. On the offense: "Well, it's definitely new. We're just diving in the playbook now, but I like some of the things we do. We're going to try and run the football here, there's no doubt about it. We will be able to do that, play-action some drop-back, all that stuff. I think we're going to throw it short, throw it long, do a bunch of stuff. I'm confident that I can fit anything he asks me to do."

Also from O'Neil: a camp preview.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune checks in with receiver Mike Williams for thoughts on Whitehurst. Williams: "Just from last night when Coach [Tom] Cable got up and talked about the attitude he wanted from the offense, and I’m sure the same thing was said over in the other room. It was good to get out here today. Guys were running around, and you could tell guys been working. You could tell Charlie’s been working."

Also from Williams: Seattle receiver Ben Obomanu grew up with Tarvaris Jackson in Alabama. Obomanu: "We shared some of the same friends when he transferred to Alabama State. A lot of my good friends played on his team and were classmates of his. So he’s a good friend of mine, so I’m looking forward to him coming in and seeing what he can do in this offense."

Liz Mathews of 710ESPN Seattle says new Seahawks coordinator Darrell Bevell could be a better fit for the team's younger players. Williams: "We’re going to win new guys over. Different personalities, a lot different than coach [Jeremy] Bates -- with all respect to coach Bates -- it's just a different approach with coach [Darrell] Bevell and his staff. With the young group we have, they like this group better I can already tell. We’ll all learn it. We’ll make mistakes together and then minimize those mistakes as much as we can. But everyone is learning and that’s the exciting part."

Mike Salk of 710ESPN Seattle offers thoughts on the Seahawks, including this one: "Yes, the team filled major holes along their offensive line (Robert Gallery and maybe James Carpenter etc.), wide receiver (Sidney Rice) and defensive line (Alan Branch provides depth). But they still have holes in their defensive backfield and at linebacker. And oh yeah, they need a quarterback!"

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic looks at how the Cardinals are addressing their offensive line.

Also from Somers: a quick look at the Cardinals' activity to this point in the week.

More from Somers: questions and answers on Kevin Kolb's acquisition. Somers: "They clearly are going all in on Kolb. As former Packers' executive Andrew Brandt, now with ESPN, pointed out via twitter, it's a similar deal to the one Aaron Rodgers' signed in 2008. Like Kolb, Rodgers had seven starts when he signed it. The Packers, however, had watched Rodgers in practice and he knew their system. The Cardinals don't have that advantage."

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals are betting big on Kolb. Boivin: "Management will take heat for spending this much, when in reality, it should be applauded. An organization that for decades was dinged for being cheap was anything but on Thursday. Team president Michael Bidwill supported the quest to fill the team's biggest hole and pulled out his checkbook to do so. If you want to find fault, it is with the team for putting itself in this situation. It shouldn't have been so desperate for a quarterback."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com has this to say about trading Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: "Losing Rodgers-Cromartie does weaken what looked like a very strong cornerback corps. First-round pick Patrick Peterson seems a lock to start now with Greg Toler; asked if the Cardinals would be acquiring a cornerback Whisenhunt just referenced the young corners already on the roster."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have been mostly quiet in free agency so far. Thomas: "The Rams have expressed some interest in Brandon Mebane of Seattle, but aren't considered a frontrunner for his services. Barry Cofield of the New York Giants seemed like a no-brainer at one time because of his past association with coach Steve Spagnuolo, but Cofield agreed to a contract in Washington worth a reported $36 million over six years."

Also from Thomas: Four Rams draft choices agree to terms.

More from Thomas: He counts Seattle among the teams with interest in Rams tight end Daniel Fells.

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says Josh McDaniels and Sam Bradford are working hard to prepare for camp.

Howard Balzer of 101ESPN St. Louis looks at the curious case of Rams rookie Robert Quinn, who might not have an agent.