Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Around the NFC West: Frustrated Fitzgerald
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic passes along a tweet from Larry Fitzgerald's brother suggesting the Arizona receiver isn't happy with his role. Marcus Fitzgerald also referred to Warner as an old man. Nothing a couple touchdown passes can't solve.
Bob McManamon of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is appealing to Fitzgerald's improved leadership skills during a slow start for the Pro Bowl wide receiver.
Also from McManamon: redemption for the Cardinals' offensive line.
Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' running game is gaining momentum early in the season. Boivin: "No one is calling Wells the next Walter Payton, but he has shown some much-needed home-run promise. Even in limited play, he has had runs of at least 15 yards in each of the Cardinals games. He's the ideal guy to have in the lineup when the team takes a lead into the fourth quarter. Too bad he couldn't be that Sunday. After fumbling twice -- giving him the dubious honor of sharing the NFL fumble lead -- he lost coach Ken Whisenhunt's confidence, and with good reason. Whisenhunt has a 17-0 record when his team wins the turnover battle. Seventeen-and-oh. They are 1-15 when they lose it. That's significant."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com breaks down the Cardinals' field-goal block against the Jaguars in Week 2. Gabe Watson was the mastermind.
Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle stands up for 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill. Knapp: "How can 9-3 not buy Hill more respect? Drew Brees is currently the quarterback equivalent of Tiger Woods at the 2000 U.S. Open, so far ahead of the field that his competitors can only laugh. Yet he is 7-5 over his past 12 games. Donovan McNabb is 8-3-1 in his past 12 regular-season starts. Philip Rivers is 6-6." Agreed.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat provides a video analysis of the 49ers' performance in Week 2.
Also from Maiocco: Mike Singletary hopes the 49ers never need Hill to carry the offense. Singletary: "I believe what he's doing right now has been good enough the first two games. Going forward, and I've said before, we're going to have to run the ball and Shaun Hill makes some plays here and there, and as he gets more comfortable, we can open it up a bit. That's what's going to have to start happening. And I believe he can do that."
Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers' willingness to file tampering charges against the Jets suggests general manager Scot McCloughan is showing some of the toughness and resolve that have marked Singletary's run as head coach. Cohn: "McCloughan is doing the same thing in the front office, taking his cue from the team on the field. He’s ordered Crabtree to sit in the corner and ponder the meaning of his life, and he’s told the Jets not so fast. The wimp fights back."
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News provides an overview to the tampering case and some good quotes from Jets coach Rex Ryan, who called the charges "ridiculous" and said he wished the Jets could play the 49ers on the field.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News wonders if the 49ers need Michael Crabtree. Kawakami: "You have to read between the lines and pick up the vibe of the room, but there's a definite sense of distance cropping up in Singletary's words about Crabtree. He's unsigned, apparently insisting on at least $7 million more in guarantees than the 49ers are willing to pay him. And all the recent activity tells us that the 49ers are bracing themselves for life after Crabtree, without ever actually having Crabtree."
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says Seahawks rookie Aaron Curry needs to find a more effective tempo to avoid being too aggressive.
Also from Johns: Matt Hasselbeck says he is "absolutely hoping" to play against the Bears in Week 3.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times quotes Hasselbeck as saying he has "definitely felt worse" on days after games.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com also checks in with Hasselbeck and coach Jim Mora. Mora: "Every time Matt gets hit, everyone thinks, 'Oh no, his back.' But I knew right away it wasn’t his back. I thought it was his head, the way that he came over as he walked off the field, and then just kind of crumbled. I thought, 'Oh, it’s his head.' But as soon as (the trainers) laid him down, you could see that he was lucid. It was just that he was in a lot of pain and he was struggling to catch his breath."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Chris Spencer, Walter Jones and Deion Branch are expected to practice for the Seahawks when the team returns to the field Wednesday.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams quarterback Marc Bulger has shown good toughness through two games. Coats: "As he dressed in the locker room Sunday at FedEx Field, a large, ugly welt across his back was noticeable. So were knots on both arms. The bruise on Bulger’s back was the result of a vicious shot he took after he scrambled for a 3-yard gain late in the first half. Bulger slid, which means he’d given himself up and shouldn’t be hit. But Redskins end Andre Carter drilled him anyway, and then 350-pound tackle Albert Haynesworth piled on. No flag was thrown, but either or both players should’ve been called for a personal foul."
Also from Coats: The Rams are on pace to finish the 2009 season with only eight sacks, not good for a team that has invested heavily in the defensive line. Coats: "Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 10 times — six in Sunday's loss to Cincinnati. And the Packers might be without veteran left tackle Chad Clifton, who is nursing an ankle injury, when they visit the Edward Jones Dome."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch breaks down the Rams' injury situation heading into Week 3. Expect Adam Goldberg to start at right tackle Sunday.
Roger Hensley of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asks whether the Rams are headed for an 0-5 start. Thomas and other staffers provide answers. Bernie Miklasz: "It’s up to the lines. The Rams offensive line has too many breakdowns that kill drives and scoring chances. The defensive line has one sack in two games and is doing nothing to disrupt the QB. As long as the Rams continue to get slapped around up front, the losing will continue. They need better game management from the coaches. And someone -- anyone -- has to step up and make some plays. There is a critical shortage of playmakers on this team."
Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says the Rams aren't sugar-coating their latest defeat.
Randy Karraker of 101ESPN St. Louis offers video analysis from the Rams' defeat at Washington.