Thursday, July 26, 2012
Around the NFC West: Let QB talk resume
By Mike Sando
Quarterback speculation figures to dominate the conversation as the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks open training camps.
Arizona opened first with a practice Wednesday.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt already had some speculation to shoot down when former NFL player Willie McGinest, now with NFL Network, said players told him the team was favoring John Skelton.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic has the details. Whisenhunt: "From what I've seen, standing in the huddle, which I don't believe he (McGinest) was in the huddle, the team's responded to both guys. I don't put a whole lot of stock into that. If he's willing to say who it was and what they're talking about and in what context, maybe it would worthy of commenting." Noted: This is the latest in a series of reports reflecting negatively on Kevin Kolb. So far this offseason, there's been one report suggesting the team had lost confidence in Kolb and another suggesting fans had booed him during a fan-fest practice in June. Kolb needs someone to start spreading positive rumors on his behalf. Mostly, though, he needs to play well.
Also from Somers: Beanie Wells wants to play it safe with his surgically repaired knee. Wells: "I had a scope and we did some things in there. Kind of let some things settle down and get right. ... I'm going to take my time. I don't think anybody wants to see a 75 percent Beanie Wells. Everybody wants to see a 100 percent Beanie Wells, and that's what I want to give."
Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic thinks Kolb has the inside track over Skelton for the starting job at quarterback, based on salary. Boivin: "Fairly or not, Ken Whisenhunt will always be tied to Kolb. The player's success or failure will reflect on the coach. It's hard to imagine Kolb won't walk away with the starting job, but Skelton appears to be doing everything necessary to prepare in case the unlikely happens. I don't buy the team divisiveness part, not like the days of Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner, when locker-room support appeared top-heavy in Warner's favor. Players were joking around with Skelton after practice, while Larry Fitzgerald made a point to interrupt an interview Kolb was doing with Sports Illustrated's Peter King."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Michael Floyd took the blame for an interception even though Patrick Peterson made a sensational play on the ball. Floyd: "I'll watch film later on and see what I did wrong, make sure it doesn’t happen again. ... I always feel I can make a play. I kind of feel it was my fault."
Also from Urban: Dan Williams' dramatically improved conditioning stands out on the first day of camp. Williams passed the team's conditioning test and weighed in at 314 pounds.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee checks in with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh following Harbaugh's annual mission trip to Peru. Harbaugh on the tranformational nature of the trips: "In some ways, it's a little uncomfortable talking about it. The Scripture says, 'Don't let your left hand know what your right hand's doing,' you know? On the other hand, it's so good. It's not only been a great experience for me, but my friends, that I want to tell people about it. I feel like I should share this. I'm lucky to participate and be surrounded by so much good."
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers' backup quarterback Josh Johnson connected with Harbaugh quickly when Harbaugh, then at the University of San Diego, recruited Johnson out of high school. Johnson: "We didn't know each other from a can of paint. But we could talk football for hours. And he just kept pushing me, pushing me, trying to get a feel for my knowledge of the game. He brought out some pencils and had me drawing X's and O's from the day we met."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says Randy Moss reported to 49ers camp a day ahead of schedule. Maiocco: "Coaches and 49ers teammates raved about Moss during the offseason program. He heads into training camp as a presumptive starting wide receiver. Moss has not made himself available to the media since March 13 when he signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the 49ers."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Chris Clemons has collected 15.5 of his 22 sacks on the road over the past two seasons. That includes nine of his 11 sacks last season. Clemons: "Teams tend to play us differently at home, with quick throws and things like that. When they're at home, they think they have a better opportunity because of the hard counts and because of the snap count. So they get an opportunity to drop back more."
Also from Farnsworth: thoughts from assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable regarding the recently re-signed Max Unger. Cable: "When I got here, we made some decisions -- in terms of people that were here; those who weren’t going to be; and those that were, but were they in the right spot. I kind of just drew on my past with Max. I thought three years ago when he came out that he’d be a terrific center. So we put him there from Day 1, and his development has been second to none on this team."
More from Farnsworth: Former Seahawks safety and assistant coach Paul Moyer offers praise for new Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune raises five questions regarding the Seahawks heading into camp.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch thinks Jeff Fisher has advantages over previous Rams coaches Steve Spagnuolo and Scott Linehan. Miklasz: "Strategy wasn't the primary issue for Linehan and Spagnuolo. Like many insecure first-time NFL head coaches, the pressure of the job consumed them. They worried about having total control and wanted to make all of the personnel decisions. They built walls and bunkers and fretted over silly matters that had little to do with game-day success. Linehan and Spags could never complete that difficult jump from assistant to head coach. They couldn't fill the big meeting room with their presence. That won't be a problem for Fisher."
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrmas.com offers a primer for the Rams' defense heading into camp. Wagoner: "Most likely, the Rams will keep seven linebackers, and aside from James Laurinaitis and Jo-Lonn Dunbar, there don’t seem to be any certainties. The two other starting positions will be hotly contested amongst the rest of the linebackers, and the other backup jobs create a land of opportunity for a bunch of young players fighting for jobs."