Thursday, September 6, 2012
Around the NFC West: Lynch's prospects
By Mike Sando
Marshawn Lynch's status remains the No. 1 injury issue for the NFC West in Week 1.
The back spasms sidelining Seattle's franchise runner are nothing new. They've flared up in the past, preventing him from playing against Cleveland last season. That was the only game Lynch has missed over the past two seasons, however. Still only 26, Lynch would not appear at risk for the injuries that led Seattle to regret re-signing Shaun Alexander, then 28 and with many more miles on his football odometer, to a long-term deal in 2006.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Lynch sounds optimistic about playing against Arizona in the opener. Lynch: "I feel good. It will be my body’s decision. But I’ve taken the appropriate steps to make sure that I don’t have to do something out of the ordinary to get ready."
Also from Williams: The Seahawks have a streamlined playbook for rookie quarterback Russell Wilson this week.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com checks in with coach Pete Carroll regarding Lynch. Carroll: "We really won’t know until the end of the week. The process that he’s gone through, he’s aerobically in good shape. We need to get him back to his football legs and get him enough reps to do that. You can’t cancel Marshawn out now. It’s too early to know that."
Also from Farnsworth: Seattle never expected rookie J.R. Sweezy to start right away. Farnsworth: "Sweezy hasn’t made his miraculous move on his own. Line coach Tom Cable has been there from the start. Literally. It was Cable who made the trip to North Carolina State to determine if Sweezy was worth converting -- and drafting. Sweezy also has been playing between center Max Unger and right tackle Breno Giacomini, who have been there to answer his on-the-fly questions and help correct his mistakes during practice and also in the meeting room."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks and Cardinals are linked by their searches for quarterbacks. Both pursued Charlie Whitehurst. Both struggled at the position thereafter. They wound up being the last teams to name starters for 2012, and both left their highest-priced quarterbacks on the bench heading into Week 1.
Art Thiel of Sports Press Northwest says Wilson will have to prove himself on third down.
Justin Rogers of mlive.com notes that Sam Bradford might be the Lions' quarterback -- as opposed to visiting Detroit with the St. Louis Rams -- had Bradford not returned to the University of Oklahoma for his senior season. Rogers: "There was some speculation at the time, mostly rumblings among fans, that one of the reasons Bradford returned to school was to avoid landing in Detroit. He put those rumors to rest on Wednesday when asked how much the Lions' 2009 draft position played into his decision."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the Rams' matchup against Lions receiver Calvin Johnson. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins: "They don't call him Megatron for nothing."
Also from Thomas: The Rams are low on defensive tackles.
Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the ties between Rams coach Jeff Fisher and Lions coach Jim Schwartz.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says the Rams likely won't announce their starting left guard before kickoff Sunday.
Bob McManamon of the Arizona Republic says the backup quarterbacks will be sitting figuratively on piles of cash along the sideline at University of Phoenix Stadium in Week 1. McManamon: "Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt declined to get into specifics when he named John Skelton the starter over Kevin Kolb on Friday, and he isn't planning to discuss it any detail now or in the foreseeable future. For now, he said, Skelton gives the team the best chance to win."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' LaRod Stephens-Howling is ready to play in the opener after recovering from injury. Somers: "the Cardinals would like to get him the ball more in one-on-one matchups with linebackers and safeties. Last year, Stephens-Howling caught just 13 passes, but he averaged 18 yards and scored two touchdowns. Maintaining his weight during the season is a big part of that. Stephens-Howling tends to lose weight during the season, making him prone to wearing down. He's added muscle, which should help him in pass protection."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Larry Fitzgerald can take a joke. Just don't laugh too hard about the receivers' supposed lack of speed.
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News updates where Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers stand seven years after entering the NFL as 2005 first-round draft choices. Inman: "Rodgers is looking for his third win in four seasons against the 49ers at Lambeau. He threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-24 win in 2009. His encore was a 298-yard, three-touchdown performance in a 34-16 victory in 2010. None of his 75 passes in those two games was intercepted. Smith didn't play in the 2010 game but went 16 of 33 with three touchdown passes and an interception in the 2009 defeat."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says there's mystery surrounding Randy Moss heading into the 49ers' opener. Barrows: "Moss will be wearing his familiar No. 84 when he makes his return Sunday. But he might as well be wearing a giant question mark. How much he'll play, whether he can still get deep, whether he's the Randy Moss of old or just an old Randy Moss are major questions that linger. And 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was not eager to answer any of them Wednesday."
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says the Packers have had to prepare for what Colin Kaepernick might offer in offensive sub packages.