Friday, October 16, 2009
Around the NFC West: Hasselbeck's recovery
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is feeling much better. Hasselbeck on his broken ribs: "I think we kind of put it behind us. I was feeling no pain on Sunday, mostly (due to) adrenaline. I’m not concerned about that this week." Not that Hasselbeck will be lowering his shoulder into Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson. Hasselbeck: "I need to slide when he’s around."
Also from Farnsworth: Edgerrin James needs 18 yards to move into the NFL's all-time top 10 in rushing. James: "That means a lot to me. It means a lot, especially in this day and age (when) you’re not going to see too many guys moving to 10,000-12,000 yards because of the two-back (system) and the way the NFL is going."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times looks at the two sides of Seahawks rookie linebacker Aaron Curry. I think Curry has a chance to join Adrian Wilson and Patrick Willis among the most physically threatening defensive players in the division. The people Curry hits tend to get up slowly. Even when Curry put a relatively routine hit on Jaguars quarterback David Garrard, he struck Garrard in the helmet with his knee while making a quick motion with his legs to regain his feet. It was clear from watching the replay that Garrard didn't like it.
Also from O'Neil: a chat transcript featuring his thoughts on defensive tackle Michael Bennett, claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay. O'Neil: "I thought Michael Bennett looked promising, but did he look better than Nick Reed? I didn't feel that. Bennett was more versatile, but not more productive so far. Even after his exhibition season, I would say Reed has been surprisingly productive in the regular season."
More from O'Neil: Seahawks fullback Owen Schmitt won't be slamming helmets into his forehead again anytime soon.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune provides a Seahawks injury update before sharing views from defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who wants to pressure the Cardinals' Kurt Warner with four rushers.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com previews Arizona's reunion with James. Warner: "It'll be weird seeing him on the other side of the field."
Also from Urban: a look at the Cardinals' tight ends now that Ben Patrick is back from suspension. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "Just based off what we saw in training camp, we were excited about him. (But) it has been five weeks since he has played football with us."
More from Urban: Arizona is bracing for crowd noise in preparing to play at Qwest Field. Running back Tim Hightower: "You can try, but you can’t simulate what it's going to sound like. At times, you can barely hear the play call in the huddle."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic quotes Hasselbeck on James: "He's great to have around, he's a lot of fun. The volume has definitely picked up on the team airplane. He's got all kinds of tricks and games that he's brought."
Also from Somers: The Cardinals need to become more effective in their blitzing.
Art Thiel of seattlepi.com says the quashing of Rush Limbaugh as a potential Rams buyer sets bad precedent. Thiel: "Don't get me wrong -- I am no fan of Limbaugh's views. But I see him as no more a threat or disturbance than Mort Saul, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Chris Rock or Lewis Black, or any of the other social satirists who helped create the broadened cultural understanding that begat the platform from which Limbaugh bloviates. That is what Limbaugh is -- a comedian. The astonishing fact that some people take him seriously is on the listener, not him."
Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tells Limbaugh's side of the story following the commentator's ouster as a potential Rams owner. Limbaugh: "I'm a fan [of the NFL], but the hatred that I am able now to mirror for the country to see is all over the place."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams running back Steven Jackson is frustrated with his individual performance to this point in part because he has yet to score a touchdown.
Also from Thomas: Former Rams receiver Torry Holt took notice when he saw the team wear throwback jerseys in Week 5. Holt: "To see the (Rams) the other week in the throwback jerseys brought back so many memories, and a lot of great memories, because we did a lot of damage in those uniforms."
More from Holt: The receiver expresses surprise at the Rams' 0-5 start.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams players from small schools, notably third-string quarterback Keith Null. Coats: "Nine of 53 players on the Rams' active roster -- plus two more on the eight-man practice squad — have motored their way along that path to the NFL. The small-school players make up 18 percent of the workforce at coach Steve Spagnuolo's behest."
Also from Coats: There was never any doubt in Marc Bulger's mind about whether he would remain the starting quarterback if healthy. Spagnuolo had committed to Bulger in the offseason. Bulger: "He said it in the spring, and I took him at his word. I didn't think there ever was a controversy. We all trust Spags. When he says something, he means it. That's what we respect the most about him."
Roger Hensley of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asks colleagues whether Bulger can regain his touch. Bernie Miklasz: "When Bulger was at his best, 2006, he was throwing to Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Kevin Curtis. And Steven Jackson was having a career year in the backfield. The last time the Rams won a playoff game, 2004, Bulger not only had Holt, Bruce and Jackson, but Marshall Faulk also contributed 1,000+ yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving). If the quality around Bulger is above-average, he can be an efficient quarterback. And there’s no doubt his completion percentage would go up. But he’s not the type of QB who can elevate a team. He needs the cast around him."
Brian Stull of 101ESPN St. Louis previews Chris Long's matchup against former Virginia teammate Eugene Monroe of the Jaguars.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat checks in with 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, who is trying to stay prepared in case something happens to Shaun Hill.
Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News says Mike Singletary's first year as the 49ers' head coach has been eventful. Purdy: "Singletary has compiled an 8-6 won-lost record, tying him for the fourth-best start by a 49ers head coach. There have been ups and downs (insert pants-dropping joke here), screaming spells, inspirational talks, intermittently impressive victories and lousy losses. So the logical question to ask Singletary, as he sat the other day in his office, was this: What does he know today about being a head coach in the NFL that he didn't know that morning a year ago?" The one thing Singletary said he did not anticipate was the role a head coach plays in dealing with the media.