Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Around the NFC West: Rams' Jackson leads
By Mike Sando
Steven Jackson, more than any other St. Louis Rams player, commands the respect and attention of teammates.
Even he realizes Sam Bradford is the Rams' future, but when players voted on team captains this year, they elected Jackson to represent the offense.
"I wear it with pride and hopefully I can continue to do so and continue to show these guys the way," Jackson said at the time.
Now, following an 0-4 start to the season, the Rams need Jackson to utilize whatever power he has to affect positive change.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Jackson stopped practice Monday and gathered the offense around him for a motivational talk. He declined to discuss what was said. Coach Steve Spagnuolo on what Jackson was getting at: "Yeah, just some determination. Some will to succeed, some drive for excellence. Just some key points and we appreciate that. I'm sure the guys on defense were doing the same thing. James Hall and I talked this morning. He's great. They get it. These guys are warriors. They've been through this and we've just got to fight our way out of it."
Howard Balzer of 101ESPN St. Louis passes along a summary of Jackson's remarks via backup guard/center Tony Wragge: "He just reaffirmed what we've talked about as a group, being positive. Play fast, be productive, play hesitant-free football."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com has this to say about tackle Anthony Davis during his player review from the 49ers' victory at Philadelphia: "Started at right tackle, and had a good game in run-blocking but struggled in pass protection. . . . He was called for tripping, when he leg-whipped Jason Babin on 49ers' second play. He did it again in the third quarter and was caught again. . . . Got to the second level to block on Gore's 40-yard run. . . . Babin twice beat Davis twice for sacks. The other sack came when Davis blocked down and Babin sailed untouched toward Smith."
Also from Maiocco: a defensive player review from the game. On first-round choice Aldon Smith: "He saw extensive action in the 49ers' nickel defense and played on both sides of the formation. It was his best game, as he recorded four tackles, 1.5 sacks, a tackle for a loss and three quarterback hurries. . . . Nearly got his first career sack in the second quarter, but Michael Vick escaped and gained five yards. Two plays later, he did get his first sack when he split right guard Kyle DeVan, who was holding, and Ronnie Brown. . . . Got pressure at Vick's feet and nearly had sack. Vick threw incomplete pass instead. . . . Recorded split sack with Ray McDonald."
Brock Huard of 710 ESPN Seattle cannot figure out why the Seahawks' Aaron Curry ran out of the play when Michael Turner broke free for a 21-yard touchdown run Sunday, but he also says other players, notably Earl Thomas, could have done more on the play. Huard thought Thomas wasn't excited about taking on the bigger Turner one-on-one.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com hands out awards one-fourth of the way through the season. Thomas is his top Seahawks player. Farnsworth: "This has been apparent to anyone who's watched the Seahawks during their 1-3 start. The second-year free safety is good, and only getting better by the game. Thomas leads the team in tackles (26) and also has been forcing plays by forcing the issue."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks found an impact player in undrafted Stanford receiver Doug Baldwin. Williams: "Half of Baldwin’s 12 receptions have gone for first downs. Those six receptions for first downs have taken place on the all-important third down, with Baldwin tied for ninth in the league in those situations."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says this is the fourth consecutive season the Cardinals have faced the Vikings, and yet another chance to revisit Arizona's decision to draft tackle Levi Brown over running back Adrian Peterson. Somers: "It proved to be a mistake. Four-plus seasons later, there is no arguing that. Peterson has missed two games over the years and averaged 1,445 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns a season. Brown has been durable, too, missing three games in his career. But his performance has been pedestrian, at best, and a liability, at worst. And, because of the way his contract is structured, it will be a surprise if he is with the Cardinals beyond this season."
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic checks in with surprisingly productive rookie nose tackle David Carter, who reveals, among other things, that he was on his high school debate team.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Kevin Kolb's pocket presence should improve with experience. Former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner captured perfectly the idea that a quarterback becomes more purposeful in his movement when he has a fuller grasp of an offense. Warner: "If you are thinking, 'OK, I’m going from one to two to three' (in your progressions) and you know what’s going on and you have a big-picture sense of what the offense is doing, it’s much easier to say, 'OK, I’m going to slide a little bit (in the pocket) because I know I’m going to throw the ball here.' When you have those questions of, 'OK, that’s not open and … I’m not really sure what the next move is,' then you think to yourself, 'OK, I’m just going to get out of here and make a play.' That comes down to feeling comfortable with what you are seeing. To me, it looks like. 'This is my comfort zone right now. It’s not going through my reads, it’s get out on the move and we can make something happen.' "