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Monday, August 13, 2012
Around the NFC West: Do Cards have QB?


The Arizona Cardinals' 2010 quarterback competition between Derek Anderson and Matt Leinart produced no clear-cut winner.

As it turned out, neither player was worthy of the starting job.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic describes a similar situation for the Cardinals as Kevin Kolb and John Skelton compete for the role. Somers: "The situation is unsettled for the worst possible reason: Neither player has distinguished himself. An entire off-season and three weeks of practice have passed, yet no order has been brought to the position. Is it Kolb/Skelton? Or Skelton/Kolb? The difference between the two has been as thin as that." Noted: Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the team failed to find open receivers in its most recent exhibition game, against Kansas City. That was a problem he highlighted from last season as well.

Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' starters could play for an extended period in the next exhibition game, or at least until they show progress.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says rookie Greg Scruggs impressed in his first exhibition game.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times saw good things from Matt Flynn on Saturday night. O'Neil: "All he did was complete was convert two third downs on a 9-minute drive and complete his first eight pass attempts of the game. No, he didn't throw downfield, but he showed he can keep an offense moving on that first drive. He wasn't as sensational as Russell Wilson, but he was also going against stiffer competition."

Also from O'Neil: Terrell Owens and Braylon Edwards are likely fighting for a single roster spot.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks' defense could be strong enough to ease any concerns about the QB race.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reviews Isaiah Pead's debut performance for the Rams. The rookie running back struggled as a runner and in the return game. Coach Jeff Fisher: "You don't step out of the back of the end zone and try to return a kickoff. He was told 5 or 7 (yards deep) fine, but any deeper than that kneel. So it's just one of those things that he'll learn. And sometimes players have to make mistakes to learn from their mistakes."

Also from Thomas: The Rams' preseason debut under Fisher was a forgettable one. Thomas: "It's always dangerous to read too much into August football; nonetheless, what transpired Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium was brutal. The Rams' 38-3 loss to Indianapolis marked the most lopsided preseason defeat for the team since the move to St. Louis in 1995. Conversely, it was the largest preseason victory for the Colts since the move to Indianapolis in 1984." Noted: The margin seems indicative of something, but as Thomas notes later in the piece, the Rams had won seven consecutive preseason games before this one, and what did it get them?

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com offers postgame thoughts, including one on Sam Bradford: "He too had a solid start, throwing good, accurate passes on the opening drive. By his own admission, one area to clean up is his awareness of the play clock. The delay of game penalty the Rams took on their opening drive killed the Rams chances of scoring on the opening drive."

Also from Wagoner: Fisher was pleased with how Steven Jackson looked.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com offers notes from the 49ers' Fan Fest practice. One highlight: "During a red zone drill, quarterback Scott Tolzien drilled a 6-yard pass into the back left corner of the end zone to Manningham, who went up to catch the pass before cornerback Tramaine Brock could turn around to make a play."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee explains the 49ers' big turnout at Candlestick Park for Fan Fest: "That uptick in attendance likely is due to two things: 1.) The high interest and expectations in the 49ers after their 13-3 season last year and 2.) The fact that Sunday's session was the only training-camp practice open to the public. In a normal summer, fans have the opportunity to attend one of dozens of open practices at the team's headquarters in Santa Clara. This year, however, 1.5 acres of practice fields there were lost to stadium-related construction, which meant there was no room for bleachers or for public practices."

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says Tolzien has drawn comparisons to ... Drew Brees? That was the word from strong safety Donte Whitner, who liked what he saw from Tolzien on Friday night against Minnesota.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says Tolzien has worked his way into the competition to be the 49ers' backup quarterback.