Thursday, August 18, 2011
Around the NFC West: QB Jackson's reps
By Mike Sando
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson will play at least the first two quarters against his former team, Minnesota, when the teams play Saturday. Coach Pete Carroll: "Last week was just, ‘Get them out there, and then get them out of there.' There just wasn’t enough time for any extended duty. But now we need to go for it, and we have to jump ahead. We have to catch up a little bit here." Other teams, including the St. Louis Rams, are also planning for their starters to play longer than usual for a second preseason game.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune has this to say about Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung: "He's still not padded up, but as he watches the O-Line, he jogs along with them between drills. They'll surely be cautious with his ankle, but it appears he's making nice progress. Tyler Polumbus continues to man Okung's left tackle position."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com offers practice notes, including plays of the day: "The players practice in full pads and the D-linemen helped set the tempo in the first team drill. On the first snap, tackle Alan Branch laid a big hit on the running back as he reached the hole. A few players later, rookie tackle Pep Levingston popped the back to force a fumble."
Also from Farnsworth: Leroy Hill's return to relevance. Hill is starting at weakside linebacker. David Hawthorne, who had replaced Hill in that spot, has taken over for the recently released Lofa Tatupu in the middle. Hill: "You’ve got a former rookie free agent [Hawthorne] replacing a Pro Bowl middle linebacker [Tatupu], and now ‘Heater’ [Hawthorne] is helping me learn the position I used to play. It’s definitely odd. It’s a crazy story."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times updates the safety situation in Seattle, noting that Earl Thomas is carrying himself with confidence. Also: "Seattle drafted Mark LeGree in the fifth round, a play-making safety out of Appalachian State, but undrafted rookie Jeron Johnson played extremely well in the team's exhibition game Thursday in San Diego. He's an unabashed thumper of a safety, and questions about his coverage ability was part of the reason he was not chosen. He deflected one pass in coverage, and batted away San Diego's final pass of the game on fourth down to seal the victory."
Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times checks in with Seahawks return specialist Leon Washington.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals nose tackle Dan Williams vows to conquer weight problems. Williams: "I'll be the first one to say, I didn't work out like a (strength coach) John Lott workout. I should have done more. Next year, I'll know the proper steps and I'll put this behind me."
Also from Somers: A.J. Jefferson continues working with the starters at left cornerback, ahead of first-round draft pick Patrick Peterson. Also, coach Ken Whisenhunt points to issues in the secondary last season. Somers: "Everybody wasn't playing the same call the same way. That's basically what hurt us."
More from Somers: thoughts on the learning curve for quarterback Kevin Kolb, who could play into the second quarter against Green Bay.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Kolb is working through the offensive installation process.
Also from Urban: Rookie sixth-round draft choice David Carter is making an impact with the second team at nose tackle. Carter's aggressiveness jumped out when I was at Cardinals camp, including when he brawled with offensive lineman Tom Pestock.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' free-agent additions on defense are finding their way. Thomas: "Having a walk-through session nearly every morning during training camp -- a byproduct of no longer having traditional two-a-days -- has helped."
Also from Thomas: what a healthy Jerious Norwood offers.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Gary Gibson faces increased competition trying to earn a roster spot at defensive tackle. Coats: "Gibson has been tossed into the seven-man mix at defensive tackle. In addition to Gibson, Justin Bannan and David Muir, Fred Robbins, Darell Scott, Jermelle Cudjo and John Henderson are in camp. The 53-man roster probably will contain four defensive tackles, so the fight for jobs figures to be strong."
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com notes that Donnie Avery was back at practice for the Rams.
Also from Wagoner: Harvey Dahl's attitude is contagious.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says center-quarterback exchanges remain a problem at 49ers camp as the team breaks in new combinations of players at the positions. Also: The 49ers are thin at cornerback with starters Carlos Rogers and Shawntae Spencer sidelined by injuries.
Also from Maiocco: The return of the West Coast offense to San Francisco has brought back the slant route to the 49ers.
More from Maiocco: Newly signed third-string quarterback Josh McCown was the top-rated passer in the UFL last season.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says McCown's ties to 49ers quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst were key to the deal. McCown and Chryst were together in Carolina and Arizona.
Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat offers detailed descriptions of pass-rush drills at 49ers camp. Rookie free agent Monte Simmons has impressed as an outside linebacker.
Also from Cohn: 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio explains his thinking on how much to blitz during preseason. Fangio: "I’ve gone into some games and blitzed more than other ones in the preseason, but particularly last week in our case, comparing it to them (New Orleans Saints), they’re in their third or fourth season with that defense with a lot of their same players. We wanted to keep it simple last week so our guys felt comfortable in playing hard and playing confident, and that is what worked best for us."
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers' Frank Gore is among the former University of Miami players mentioned in reports of NCAA violations at the school. Inman: "Miami booster Nevin Shapiro told Yahoo! that Gore allegedly received $20,000 to $30,000 from then-agent and current UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue. Shapiro, in a series of interviews with Yahoo!, admitted to giving improper benefits to Miami players from 2002 to 2010. Gore did not respond to Yahoo!'s request for a comment." Gore also declined comment to the Mercury News. Gore will face questioning on the matter sooner or later.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle sees good things from Ahmad Brooks at outside linebacker.