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Thursday, October 6, 2011
Around the NFC West: 49ers staph infection

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Staph infections made news in the NFL back in 2008.

The Cleveland Browns were hit hardest, but Tom Brady and Peyton Manning also experienced staph-related complications.

Now, a member of the San Francisco 49ers is battling one.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says 49ers nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga is suffering from a staph infection that could sideline him against Tampa Bay in Week 5. Maiocco: "Third-year player Ricky Jean Francois would take over as the starting nose tackle. Then, undrafted rookie defensive linemen Demarcus Dobbs and Ian Williams could both suit up for the game -- though neither would be expected to see much playing time." Noted: Staph infections can be serious. The MRSA variety is antibiotic-resistant and much tougher to treat. This is a concerning development for the 49ers.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says receiver Joshua Morgan and defensive back Keith Lewis suffered from staph infections while with the 49ers in 2008.

Also from Inman: 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has done a much better job limiting interceptions lately.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle breaks down Smith's passing stats by targets.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times traces Doug Baldwin's unlikely journey from Florida high school prospect to Stanford receiver to the NFL. O'Neil: "It's a story that involves a former NFL coach whose daughter attended the same high school as Baldwin, a newspaper publisher whose son worked in Stanford's football program and a whippet-quick receiver who caught their attention eight years ago."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com explains why the team signed Jameson Konz to its active roster. Konz has switched from offense to defense during his tenure with the team, but Seattle needs him to contribute on special teams after losing linebacker Matt McCoy for the season.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seahawks guard John Moffitt fits the profile for offensive linemen and is growing into the role alongside fellow rookie James Carpenter. Boling: "The massive Carpenter is not only finishing his blocks now, but at times driving his man into the turf. And the two are functioning better as a tandem on the right side."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb is still learning when to run and when to hang in the pocket. Quarterbacks coach Chris Miller: "Let's be real, he's making a change mechanically and fundamentally from how they taught it in Philadelphia, with your feet hitching up and moving up in the pocket like Joe Montana and Steve Young used to do. That's kind of the tree of coaches who are in Philly. Where we're more of a 'hang-on-your-back-foot' type offense and system. Maybe take a rhythm hitch or two up in the pocket. We're in a little transition period."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com updates progress in the Cardinals' ground game.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch updates the Rams' dire situation at cornerback following Bradley Fletcher's season-ending knee injury. Thomas: "The team already was perilously thin at cornerback, with Justin King moving into the starting lineup following Ron Bartell's season-ending neck injury in Week 1, and veteran Al Harris serving as the Rams' third cornerback. Three of the Rams' top four cornerbacks entering the season now are on injured reserved."