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Monday, August 20, 2012
Around the NFC West: Seeking QB and LT

By Mike Sando

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Good morning, NFC West.

This final week of Arizona Cardinals training camp begins with efforts to determine which left tackle will protect which quarterback's blind side. It doesn't get much bigger than that for an offense. I'll be heading out to Cardinals camp for a walk-through Monday morning, followed late in the afternoon by a full practice.

In the meantime, let the quarterback conversation continue.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic looks for reasons why the Cardinals' pass protection has held up better for John Skelton than for Kevin Kolb. A sequence involving tackle D'Anthony Batiste provided one example. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "It's was D'Anthony's first time in there and he got picked and didn't do a good job. Well, John gets in there and they try to do the same thing. D'Anthony's got 15 snaps in now, and he does a better job, and John gets better protection. That kind of seems the way it's worked. I don't want to sit here and make excuses or say it's this or it's that. But it seems like that's happened more often than it should have."

Also from Somers: the Cardinals' search for a left tackle. Somers: "There is not an obvious candidate on the roster to replace Brown. D.J. Young, who spent most of last season on the practice squad, has been Brown's backup in camp. D'Anthony Batiste, who started at right tackle Friday night, will practice there. Nate Potter, a seventh-round pick, is another candidate. Jeremy Bridges also has played left tackle in the past."

More from Somers: A piece of Brown's bone broke off with the triceps tendon. That could extend Brown's timetable for rehabilitation.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says MRI results for Brandon Jacobs' knee showed no serious damage, welcome news for the San Francisco 49ers' running back. Barrows: "The MRI was designed to see if there was anything amiss with the MCL, which is in the inside of the knee where trainers appeared to be probing after the hit. Images taken Sunday showed no significant damage there, either. The time table for Jacobs' recovery is not known at this point and his availability for the 49ers' first regular-season game Sept. 9 in Green Bay is up in the air."

Also from Barrows: postgame notes on the 49ers, including one on Randy Moss. Barrows: "Moss led the 49ers in receiving with three catches for 24 yards. He would have finished with four for 48 but he allowed a nicely thrown back-shoulder pass from [Colin] Kaepernick to slips through his hands. Moss has been good, but not perfect, in practices. There have been several drops this summer."

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News runs through Jim Harbaugh's attempts to criticize replacement officials without coming right out and criticizing replacement officials.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team's defense held up well against Peyton Manning. Farnsworth: "Three of the Broncos’ six first-half possessions ended in turnovers and another was a three-and-out. In the second half, after Manning and the Seahawks’ No. 1 defense had called it a night, the Broncos’ first three possessions were three-and-outs and they were held to one first down and 37 yards." Noted: Manning looked pretty good against Seattle at times, but he remains in the early stages of his comeback and still must prove he can hold up physically and produce with a new supporting cast. Those thing are not automatic.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times runs through three things he knows following the Seahawks' victory at Denver. O'Neil: "The Seahawks didn't play Jason Jones, the defensive tackle they're expecting to be a big part of their nickel pass rush, and August isn't the time teams typically put their best pass-rush plans on display. But given all that, it's worth noting that pressure hasn't been a big part of Seattle's defense so far."

Also from O'Neil: a few unanswered questions. O'Neil: "Can we really call this a quarterback competition if Russell Wilson doesn't start this week? This is not to say Wilson should start only that if this was an honest to goodness, heads-up competition, he probably would start given his second-half performance the past two weeks."

Jason LaCanfora of CBSSports.com says the Seahawks will increase efforts to trade Tarvaris Jackson this week, and that Jackson would agree to reduce his salary for another team. Noted: To my knowledge, the Seahawks have not given Jackson's agents formal permission to seek a trade. I see no reason for another team to give up more than a conditional or late-round draft choice for Jackson given that Seattle appears likely to release the quarterback this month. A quarterback injury elsewhere could create some urgency, though.

Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says rookie receiver Brian Quick made strides in the Rams' most recent preseason game. O'Neill: "Perhaps the most encouraging of Quick’s three grabs was the last. ... Quick used his size and strength to fend off Chiefs defensive back Jacques Reeves for the catch. The 23-year-old Quick then pulled into the end zone and initially was credited with a 10-yard touchdown reception. After review, officials changed the ruling, awarding a first down and marking Quick down at the 1."

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the final score wasn't what was most important about the Rams' preseason victory over the Chiefs. Burwell: "The full first-unit offense was intact for three series and the entire first quarter, putting 151 yards and 14 points in the blink of an eye. When the Pro Bowl tailback and the promising young quarterback were on the field, (Steven) Jackson was a bull rumbling out of the backfield for 49 yards on only seven carries, and (Sam) Bradford was poised as could be, completing six of nine passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns."

Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com offers 10 Rams-related observations. Almost all of them were positive. Gordon: "The first offensive line unit excelled. With Robert Turner filling in for Scott Wells at center and Barry Richardson displacing hapless Jason Smith at right tackle, the unit opened some nice seams for Steven Jackson and generally protected Bradford."