Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Around the NFC West: Can Cardinals flip switch?
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic senses the Cardinals are about to awake following a sleepy preseason. Bickley: "From an Arizona perspective, the worst preseason imaginable might be the best thing that's ever happened to this team. Warner said the team was successful only in "embarrassing ourselves" and, fortunately, it seems like a missing fire suddenly has returned. A rebound performance in Week 1 atones for everything."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic checks in with Ben Claxton and other Cardinals players feeling fortunate to have landed spots on the team's initial 53-man roster. Somers: "After signing contracts with eight teams, spending two seasons in NFL Europe and two seasons out of football, Claxton survived the final cut of training camp for the first time."
Also from Somers: The Cardinals' 2008 opening-day starters have now been cut by two other teams.
More from Somers: Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson wasn't biting when asked about matching up with 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. "Who?" Wilson asked. Somers also explains how Herman Johnson's emergence at backup right tackle gives the Cardinals the flexibility to move Levi Brown to left tackle if something happens to starter Mike Gandy.
More yet from Somers: Anquan Boldin is resting a hamstring injury.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Larry Fitzgerald is eager to open up the playbook and play to the Cardinals' offensive strengths.
Taylor Price of 49ers.com takes an early look at the Cardinals heading into the season opener. Price: "The Cardinals held the 49ers to an average of 18.5 points per game in the team’s two meetings last season and they’d like to continue that trend this Sunday when the teams kick-off the 2009 regular season."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee singles out receiver Josh Morgan as a player to watch on the 49ers this season. Barrows: "Josh Morgan is a 220-pound wide receiver who can run 40 yards in less than 4.4 seconds. He's the best leaper on the 49ers, a strong blocker in the running game, and he's an infrequent visitor to the training room."
Also from Barrows: The 49ers need Dashon Goldson to force turnovers.
More from Barrows: Allen Rossum came up big for the 49ers in the return game last season.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks confirmed Lawyer Milloy's role as a backup to Jordan Babineaux, as expected. Milloy: "I'm trying to get in and fit in. If I have to be a backup, that's what I have to do. I'll accept that role. As a backup, you're always pushing to be the starter. It was like that my rookie year and it's going to be like that now."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Milloy worked out for the Lions last week, but Seattle was his preference all the way. Defensive backs coach Tim Lewis after Milloy's first practice: "I thought he did a great job. He's very smart. He’s experienced. He's easy to get him acclimated to our defensive system. We have that Gus Bradley system, and it's one that requires the safety to be smart, instinctive and a good feel player."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams players who felt fortunate to earn roster spots. One of them, David Roach, set up his family as though the Rams had cut him, only to surprise them with the good news. Of course, roster spots can be fleeting and the Rams will adjust their personnel.
Also from Thomas: Adam Carriker's shoulder surgery is scheduled for Wednesday. Recovery time is expected to be four months. Carriker said he suffered a 75 percent tear of the subscapularis muscle.
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says rookie guard Roger Allen III found it "eerie" to see friends' names removed from lockers at Rams Park.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says new Rams defensive lineman LaJuan Ramsey focused on football after his preferred sport, swimming, became an unrealistic one to pursue. Coats: "He was a swimmer, a 50-meter sprinter, but his size -- he's 6-feet-3 and 300 pounds -- wasn't exactly suited for the pool."
Brian Stull of 101ESPN St. Louis details the Rams' plans for Marc Bulger this week.