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Thursday, August 30, 2012
Around the NFC West: Quiet first-rounders

By Mike Sando

First-round draft choices from the NFC West are cruising through the exhibition season without much fanfare.

Arizona's Michael Floyd has three catches. St. Louis' Michael Brockers has a few tackles, but it's easy to avoid detection as a defensive tackle. Seattle's Bruce Irvin has no tackles or sacks. San Francisco's A.J. Jenkins has four catches.

The excitement from draft day has dissipated. The final exhibition games, scheduled for Thursday night, will be anticlimactic.

Time to reset expectations. Brockers and Irvin figure to get the most playing time.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com notes that Peter King has projected Irvin to emerge as defensive rookie of the year. Effort has outpaced production to this point. Farnsworth: "(Pete) Carroll said Irvin was close to getting four sacks against the Chiefs on Friday night, and that he graded out as the most active of the D-linemen during training camp."

Also from Farnsworth: Tom Cable has gotten positive results in the running game.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times updates various injury situations regarding the Seahawks. Coach Pete Carroll on Jason Jones resting a surgically repaired knee for an extended period: "As he had to endure the rigors of camp, we needed to slow him down. It has just been a maintenance thing. He's in good shape. He'll be ready for the opener."

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle runs through three things he wants to see in the Seahawks' final exhibition game. Braylon Edwards' name comes up.

Bob Young of the Arizona Republic thinks the Cardinals are giving third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley the start Thursday night at least in part because they might need him this season. Young: "Kevin Kolb could have gone easy on him and followed up his strong finish in the first half against the Tennessee Titans by moving the chains a couple of times to start the second half. He almost certainly would have won the competition with John Skelton right then and there. Instead, Kolb inexplicably threw his first pass of the second half directly at Titans linebacker Colin McCarthy, who promptly returned it for a touchdown." Noted: McCarthy made an impressive pick against Seattle's Matt Flynn as well. Overall, pass protection might be as big a concern as the quarterback situation. That could be one reason the team isn't expected to play its top two quarterbacks.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com projects the Cardinals' initial 53-man roster. He has the team keeping four tight ends, eight offensive linemen and eight linebackers, including Brandon Williams. Mike Adams isn't among the cornerbacks.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch lists five things to watch for the Rams against Baltimore in their final exhibition game. Thomas: "Right guard Harvey Dahl will miss tonight's game with an infection. And that means the Rams will have gone through the entire preseason without their starting offensive line on the field together for one snap. Robert Turner is expected to start at right guard, but Jose Valdez and Rokevious Watkins could get some work there with the starters as well."

Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are still working to determine Steven Jackson's top backup. Isaiah Pead was the presumed favorite, but Daryl Richardson has been more productive.

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says coach Jeff Fisher plans to play starters into the third quarter, unusual for a fourth preseason game. Fisher: "There's still several (spots) that are close. If you look at the secondary, we’ve got some decisions to make. Which guy can play nickel or potentially will develop into this and that? And how do you get them the right reps? But at the same time how do you get them ready for the season? So there’s some different scenarios we’re looking at. But I think by Friday things will have cleared up for us and we’ll be able to make the right decisions."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com offers thoughts on which 49ers players will stick on the initial 53-man roster, and how they might factor. On Jenkins: "He was the 49ers' first-round draft pick, and he has gotten better and better since coming to the team. But it's still difficult to try to figure out a way for him to contribute as a rookie. Jenkins is behind Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams on the depth chart. And the 49ers are not going to suit up six receivers for regular-season games."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee lists 47 players as "locks" to make the 49ers' initial 53.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News catches up with 49ers cornerback Perrish Cox. Inman: "Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown are entrenched as the starting cornerbacks. The 49ers also return their top two reserves from last season, Chris Culliver and Tramaine Brock, whose exhibition-season struggles could vault Cox into the No. 4 role. The 49ers open the regular season Sept. 9 in Green Bay against reigning league MVP Aaron Rodgers. Cox said he is up for that challenge, tracing his on-field confidence to his first career start that came against Manning, then with the Indianapolis Colts."