Thursday, September 20, 2012
Around the NFC West: Homecoming week
By Mike Sando
High-profile homecomings mark the NFC West in Week 3.
Former Arizona first-round pick Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returns to University of Phoenix Stadium with the Eagles, where he'll be trying to stop Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb, the player for whom Rodgers-Cromartie was traded in 2011.
Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson, who helped Mike Holmgren build a Super Bowl team in Seattle, returns to Seattle, where his current team will face his former one Monday night. Seattle's roster and front office aren't hurting for Wisconsin flavor, either.
San Francisco's Randy Moss returns to Minnesota, where former 49ers coach Mike Singletary is scheming to stop him.
In St. Louis, Rams coach Jeff Fisher is preparing for a trip to Chicago for a game against the Bears, the team that drafted him.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic looks at what Kolb's Philadelphia experience imparted on the quarterback. Kolb: "The biggest thing I took is when it's high there, when things are going good, you can't buy into it because there is a lot of hype. Everybody is patting you on the back. And when it's low, good gosh, is the sun going to come up tomorrow? Although it's not quite like that here. It is the NFL and that's the way it is nowadays. As a quarterback especially, you have to be able to ride those waves and stay level-headed with every experience."
Also from Somers: The Cardinals have contained Michael Vick in the past.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Ryan Williams reached "rock bottom" for personal and professional reasons lately.
Also from Urban: Cardinals notes, including one featuring coach Ken Whisenhunt praising left tackle D'Anthony Batiste, counter to what some have written. Noted: Expectations for Batiste were low. He has not fallen short of them.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times breaks down the Seahawks by first and second halves. O'Neil: "The Seahawks' offense has yet to score a first-half touchdown, and two of the three field goals Seattle has managed in the first two periods of the first two games were the result of turnovers. The slow starts for the offense are reminiscent of the way Seattle began last season when it didn't score a first-half touchdown until the fourth game." Noted: Could it be that the Seahawks, as a team focused on running the ball, need time to build rhythm in their ground game most weeks? Are they proficient at halftime adjustments? All of the above? None of the above?
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks now resemble the edgy team former coach Jim Mora sought back in 2009. Mora on the Seahawks' offensive line in 2009: "You've got to be a little bit of a dirtbag. Not as a person. But on the football field. Because in the pit, where all the stuff goes down, man, if you don't have some frickin' toughness, you're going to fail, you know?"
Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle breaks down Marshawn Lynch's 36-yard run against the Cowboys.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the rams are becoming an hard-edged team opponents complain about. Miklasz: "From 2001-2010, Fisher's Titans led the NFL in most personal foul penalties with 163. They were called for a league-high 67 penalties for unnecessary roughness, and flagged 46 times for roughing the passer. Moreover, the Titans were slapped with 18 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. I suppose that was a preview of coming infractions."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch updates Steven Jackson's injury situation. Thomas: "When the thickly muscled Jackson has had soft-tissue injuries in the past, he's generally been sidelined for the better part of a month. He missed four games in 2007 with a groin injury, four games in 2008 with a quad injury and most of three games last season with a quad injury. Early indications are that this injury isn't as serious."
Also from Thomas: Sam Bradford is enjoying a revival.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says the team is getting contributions from backup tight end Matthew Mulligan. Noted: The Rams got zero touchdowns from their tight ends last season. Mulligan already has one.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee publishes a transcript from Moss' latest interview session. Moss says he has enjoyed watching former Minnesota teammates receive Hall of Fame honors. Moss: "To see Randall McDaniel, to see John Randle go to the Hall of Fame. I've been with those guys. I've been in the locker room. I've won with those guys. I've lost with those guys. And to be able to practice with them day in and day out, and then for them to receive a prestigious honor in making it to the Hall of Fame -- man, it felt good."
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News compares 2007 draft classes for the 49ers and Raiders, noting that San Francisco is winning with several key players selected that year. Patrick Willis, Joe Staley, Dashon Goldson, Tarell Brown and Ray McDonald are starters from that 49ers draft class. Willis, Staley and Goldson have earned Pro Bowl honors. Brown and McDonald are playing at a high level.
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says Alex Smith will stop wearing a San Francisco Giants cap following games after the NFL threatened to fine him $15,000. Inman: "A Giants cap constitutes non-sponsored gear, and players must abide by the NFL's dress code before, during and after games when visible to the stadium and television audience."