NFC West: Donte Whitnery

We've reached the point where college prospects make pre-draft visits to NFL teams and analysts try to figure out what it all means.

Teams visit with players they hope to select. Teams also visit with players they're unlikely to select. Sometimes they select players who never once came through their facilities before the draft.

The St. Louis Rams are picking high enough, sixth overall, to almost ensure they'll wind up with one of the 30 players scheduled to visit.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are beginning to hold those meetings as they head toward the 2012 draft. Thomas: "Under former general manager Billy Devaney, the Rams brought in all of the so-called 'top 30' visits over a two- or three-day period. But under new general manager Les Snead, the visits are being staggered over a two-week period. Tackle Mike Adams, receiver Justin Blackmon, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and cornerback Janoris Jenkins visited Monday. Thomas lists 10 other players among those scheduled to visit, including cornerback Morris Claiborne, defensive end Quinton Coples, running back Trent Richardson, receiver Michael Floyd and receiver Rueben Randle.

Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic says the NFL and the Cardinals have issues with the city of Glendale over allocation of parking spots. Harris: "The Arizona Cardinals are accusing cash-strapped Glendale of financial mismanagement and could sue the city over the loss of parking for roughly 9,000 of the team's ticket holders at Westgate City Center near University of Phoenix Stadium. Glendale, which has spent heavily to try to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in neighboring Arena, is working with the team on a solution to the dispute, Mayor Elaine Scruggs said. The Cardinals and the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority, which manages the stadium, sent Glendale a four-page demand letter Monday seeking written assurances the parking problem would be addressed by May 1. If not, the letter said, legal action may follow. Representatives from the National Football League, the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, which landed the 2015 NFL title game in Glendale, and the Fiesta Bowl, a fellow stadium tenant, also signed the letter asking the city to keep past promises to tenants not to take away any nearby parking."

Darren Urban of says the Cardinals' final practices before training camp will be June 12-14.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Marcus Trufant's re-signing with the Seahawks makes sense in part because another cornerback, Walter Thurmond, apparently suffered a setback in his return from a broken leg. O'Neil: "Thurmond is expected to begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, which would indicate a setback in his recovery from the injury. If a player is on the PUP list after the final roster cuts, he must miss at least the first six games before being activated."

Clare Farnsworth of has this to say about Trufant's return: "Where he fits in a defense that ranked ninth in the league last season remains to be seen. In his absence in 2011, rookie Richard Sherman stepped in and played well on the left side. On the right side, Brandon Browner finished his first NFL season by playing in the Pro Bowl. And the coaches remain high on Walter Thurmond, a third-year corner who missed 10 games last season with a broken ankle that required surgery. But coach Pete Carroll is all about competition, and Trufant definitely has been a competitor during his career with the Seahawks."

Matt Maiocco of recaps the past week for the San Francisco 49ers. Maiocco: "Safety Reggie Smith, an unrestricted free agent, signed with the Carolina Panthers. Smith was the 49ers' No. 3 safety last season. In his season-ending meeting with general manager Trent Baalke, the sides agreed it was in the best interest of both sides for Smith to look for a better opportunity elsewhere. Currently, C.J. Spillman is the 49ers' third safety behind starters Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner. The club will look for another veteran safety and/or add at the position in the draft."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Randle and Floyd are among the college receivers who have met or plan to meet with the 49ers before the draft.

Around the NFC West: Gallery's surgery

September, 21, 2011
Three NFC West teams signed veteran guards to start for them in 2011.

Harvey Dahl (St. Louis Rams) and Daryn Colledge (Arizona Cardinals) have brought toughness and experience to their new teams. Robert Gallery was supposed to do the same for Seattle. News that Gallery needs groin surgery and will miss at least a month raised a question in my mind: Was the injury affecting him over an extended period, preventing Gallery from playing as well as anticipated?

That was apparently the case. According to coach Pete Carroll, Gallery had a tougher time playing through the groin injury once he suffered a sprained knee in the final exhibition game. He wound up aggravating the groin injury during the first quarter of Seattle's Week 2 game at Pittsburgh, but Gallery didn't tell anyone about the injury until after the game.

Clare Farnsworth of says Gallery's absence means sixth-year veteran Paul McQuistan will start for the first time since the 2007 season. That means Seattle will use its third starting combination in as many games along its offensive line, continuing a trend that has complicated life for the Seahawks' running backs and quarterbacks.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks' latest starting quarterback, Tarvaris Jackson, hasn't made much of an impact either positively or negatively. Carroll: "He hasn't had that many opportunities where we said, 'He should have done this, he should have done that.' He has pretty much taken what's there. There hasn't been a lot of situations where he's turned down a big throw."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune checks in with a medical expert for thoughts on labrum injuries such as the one Sidney Rice is battling through.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals might simplify their defense after allowing 466 yards per game over the first two weeks of the regular season. Safety Kerry Rhodes: "It's a tough system to learn. Coming to a new season with it, it's been a little frustrating. But we've got a lot of time to rectify it, though. Yeah, it's complicated, but we've got to be pros at the same time and figure it out. This is what we get paid to do. We don't have anything else to do but learn it and try to get it down."

Darren Urban of says playing the Seahawks' offense should help Arizona's defense.

Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch updates the injury situation in the Rams' secondary. Tim Atchison is headed for injured reserve. Nelson: "An undrafted rookie from Baylor, Atchison was with the Rams in camp, signed to the practice squad, released, then signed to the active roster last week. He will be the fifth cornerback to go on IR since the start of camp. The others are Ron Bartell (neck), Jerome Murphy (ankle), Dionte Dinkins (ankle) and Mikail Baker (hamstring). In addition, Marquis Johnson, a seventh-round pick in 2010, was placed on the physically unable to perform list because of a hamstring injury and won't be available until at least Oct. 23, when the Rams face the Cowboys."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams aren't panicking at 0-2.

Matt Maiocco of offers his player-by-player review of the San Francisco 49ers' defense against Dallas in Week 2. Safety Donte Whitner played every snap. Maiocco: "He was credited with four tackles and three passes defensed. . . Was in the right spot to get an interception in the end zone against Jon Kitna. . . . He bit hard on a run fake on the first play of overtime, allowing Jesse Holley to get behind him for a 77-yard gain that set up the winning field goal."

Also from Maiocco: player-by-player review of the 49ers' offense. On Frank Gore: "Started at running back and played 53 of the team's 54 offensive snaps. There wasn't much room for him to operate. He gained 47 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. But do you want to know why the 49ers like him so much? His pass-protection was outstanding. He leveled blitzing safety Barry Church off the right side to allow Smith to complete a 21-yard pass to Braylon Edwards. On 49ers' second drive, cut-blocked DeMarcus Ware to the ground to allow Smith to hit Ted Ginn 14-yard gain."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee runs through each of the six sacks the 49ers allowed Sunday.