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Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Around the NFC West: Backing Tarvaris

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Head coach Pete Carroll isn't the only one who thinks Tarvaris Jackson should be the Seattle Seahawks' starting quarterback.

Quite a few Seattle players think so, too. How else to explain Jackson emerging as one of four player-elected team captains barely one month after taking his first snap on a practice field for Seattle?

"It’s obvious that that’s who they wanted to be their leader," Carroll told reporters Monday.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com has that and more in his post-practice notebook. He also looks at the 10 players still with the team since Carroll's first day as head coach: Marcus Trufant, David Hawthorne, Jon Ryan, Brandon Mebane, Aaron Curry, Leroy Hill, Red Bryant, Max Unger, Justin Forsett and Ben Obomanu.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks' roster is about one year younger on average than any Week 1 rosters for the team since at least 2005. Noted: Those earlier teams had Pro Bowl-caliber players in their primes. Quite a few of those players have retired.

Liz Mathews of 710ESPN Seattle notes that rookie right tackle James Carpenter is getting work at left guard while Robert Gallery recovers from a knee injury. Breno Giacomini is working at right tackle. Noted: Assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable wanted a veteran familiar with his scheme. He and Gallery were together with the Raiders for years. Last season, the team brought in Ben Hamilton and Chester Pitts because both had played for then-line coach Alex Gibbs. The expectation is that Gallery has more left than either Hamilton or Pitts, but injuries are a concern. Gallery missed four of the Oakland Raiders' first five games last season. He missed 10 games in 2009.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' aren't yet sure what role Chester Taylor will play for them this season. Tight end Todd Heap played with Taylor in Baltimore and sized up Taylor this way: "He's a good all-around back. He's not afraid to pass block. He's physical running the ball. He's got great hands out of the backfield; that's one thing that always impressed me about Chester, to catch the ball in space, to catch the ball in traffic." Noted: Heap and Taylor last played together in 2005. Taylor was mostly a backup to that point in his career. He enjoyed a breakout season with Minnesota in 2006.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says veteran linebacker Stewart Bradley was happy to change jersey numbers from 97 to 52, a number more befitting of a linebacker. Noted: Bradley remained in a backup role through training camp as he adjusted from Philadelphia's 4-3 defense to the Cardinals' 3-4 scheme. Arizona gave him a $5 million signing bonus on a five-year, $30 million deal. He needs to start and play well for the Cardinals, and that is the expectation.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are mostly healthy as the regular-season opener approaches after stressing injury avoidance during training camp. Defensive end Chris Long: "We were still out four hours a day, whether it was walk-throughs or practice. We had some really good long practice sessions. We had even more time in meeting rooms. Hopefully, what it'll do is keep people healthy and put years on careers." Noted: New rules prevented teams from hitting as much during camps this summer. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo had already gone easier on the team in 2010 than he did in 2009, his first season with the team. That is easier for a coach to do once he establishes his program.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com predicts a third-place finish for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West, one spot ahead of Seattle.

Also from Maiocco: thoughts on the 49ers' recent roster moves, specifically why they released draft choice Ronald Johnson and didn't even sign him to their practice squad. Maiocco: "He was the only 49ers' draft pick who did not make it, and it was no surprise. Johnson failed to show any unique skills in 49ers camp. He struggled catching the ball as a wideout, and he mishandled two punts in an exhibition game. What was a bit of a surprise was that the 49ers didn't immediately bring Johnson back to the practice squad. The 49ers signed a rookie receiver to the practice squad on Sunday, but the player chosen was undrafted rookie Joe Hastings of Washburn. The Philadelphia Eagles signed Johnson to their practice squad on Monday."

Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' moves under Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke suggest a long-term approach, not a quick fix. Noted: The 49ers have gotten quite a bit younger this offseason while doing nothing from a personnel standpoint to upgrade their quarterback situation for the immediate term. That's a reflection of a longer-term approach.