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Friday, September 4, 2009
Around the NFC West: Rams' Smith shows

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando




Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch liked what he saw from Rams rookie tackle Jason Smith. Burwell: "What I liked the most about what Smith did against the Chiefs was how quickly he learned from his mistakes. When he was over on the right side in the first quarter, the Chiefs stacked the linebacker and defensive end together and ran a looping stunt, with the end swooping around the blitzing linebacker to the inside. A few games ago, Smith had issues with these types of games that the defensive rushers played against the inexperienced rookie. Thursday night, it wasn't Smith who got fooled on the stunt. He stuffed his man at the line of scrimmage, but his tag-team partner, Adam Goldberg, reacted a hair late to the delayed inside rush."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says both teams were "offensively challenged" when the Rams and Chiefs played Thursday night. Thomas: "Bubble defensive ends Eric Moore and C.J. Ah You both had their moments rushing the passer. At running back, none of the backups made a definitive statement. In the battle for the No. 3 quarterback job, Brock Berlin got the better of it over Keith Null, although Berlin did throw a costly second-quarter interception and their final numbers Thursday ended up being very similar."

Also from Thomas: Donnie Avery got some work for the Rams, suggesting he'll be ready for the regular-season opener after recovering from a broken foot.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the race between quarterbacks Berlin and Null for the No. 3 job in St. Louis is too close to call.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat points to turnovers as a key for the Rams during the exhibition season. They forced 12 of them.

Brian Stull of 101ESPN St. Louis says the Rams' cornerbacks stood out against the Rams. Stull: "Jonathan Wade had sack, Justin King had an interception and Bradley Fletcher was in on several plays."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says some Cardinals players are concerned after the team failed to impress -- again -- in finishing the exhibition season with an 0-4 record. Also: "The Cardinals could well make most of their cuts on Friday, a day ahead of the deadline for teams to get to the 53-man maximum. After Thursday's game, I'd say cornerback Michael Adams is going to stick. He's competitive and plays well on special teams. I don't like the chances of tight end Leonard Pope or receiver Lance Long. Pope was the last tight end used on Thursday, I believe. I think the Cardinals will take their chances at releasing Long and re-signing him to the practice squad."

Also from Somers: The Cardinals' first-team offense scored one touchdown during the exhibition season.

More from Somers: Coach Ken Whisenhunt says the Cardinals' rookie defensive backs have  a ways to go before they're ready. I thought Greg Toler showed promise.

Tim Klutsarits of examiner.com liked what he saw from the Rams' Victor Adeyanju. Klutsarits: "Adeyanju was all over the field against the Chiefs and while his production is going to be mostly against the run it looks like he might be a contributor rushing the quarterback this year as well."



Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers rookie Michael Crabtree wouldn't be able to contribute much in Week 1 even if he signed in the near future. Maiocco: "The 49ers have just three more significant practices before the start of the regular season. That's not a lot of time for a rookie wide receiver to get up to speed on what he missed while absent from training camp."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee makes the tough calls in projecting the 49ers' initial 53-man roster. He keeps Micheal Spurlock over Jason Hill and Bear Pascoe over J.J. Finley.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says cornerback Eric Green and others are fighting for roster spots with the 49ers.

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com recaps the Seahawks' performance against Oakland.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times quotes Seahawks coach Jim Mora as saying Ben Obomanu "showed up" on special teams against the Raiders. Obomanu also caught two passes for 58 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown grab.

Also from O'Neil: Olindo Mare might have won the kicking battle against Brandon Coutu. Also, Max Unger will open the regular season at right guard.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says Seahawks rookie Aaron Curry was on his game Thursday night.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune lists Seahawks injuries this way: "Receivers Jordan Kent (ankle) and Courtney Taylor (eye), safety Courtney Greene (knee), tackle Andre Ramsey (leg) and defensive end Derek Walker (hamstring) suffered injuries during the game."

John Morgan of Field Gulls credits Seahawks defensive line coach Dan Quinn for developing and using young talent.