- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic sizes up the 49ers under Mike Singletary. Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle said he saw a different 49ers team after Singletary took over last season. Rolle: "They were a lot more disciplined, a lot more consistent. And their attitude, their aggressiveness was at a serious tempo. We always expect a fight with them, but they had a different eye of the tiger that day."
Also from Somers: The Cardinals will raise an NFC championship banner before kickoff Sunday.
More from Somers: The Cardinals are protecting receiver Anquan Boldin's sore right hamstring.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals named the following team captains: Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald on offense; Karlos Dansby, Adrian Wilson and Darnell Dockett on defense; and Sean Morey on special teams.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times profiles Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and family. Young son Henry likes the Bengals thanks to the bedtime story Hasselbeck concocted.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Hasselbeck has put to rest questions about his health heading into the regular season. Farnsworth: "The Seahawks are feeling pretty good about the prospects of bouncing back from their 4-12 record last season because Hasselbeck is looking more like the QB who passes for 3,330-plus yards and 22-plus touchdowns in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007."
Also from Farnsworth: New starting safety Jordan Babineaux was the player of the day Thursday. Farnsworth: "Babineaux intercepted two passes – returning one for a touchdown – and also got his hands on two others. He also rocked the running back as he was coming through the hole with a solid hit and closed nicely to limit a receiver to a short gain."
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com checks in with Seahawks rookie linebacker Aaron Curry, who isn't afraid to ask questions. Curry: "Some days I'll be the reason we're in there so late (in meetings)," he said. "I don't want any stone going unturned. If I have a question or don't understand it completely, I'm not comfortable with myself. I couldn't go to practice knowing I didn't ask the question I should have asked."
Art Thiel of seattlepi.com boldly -- or not so boldly -- forecasts a 9-7 record for the Seahawks.
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says Seahawks rookie quarterback Mike Teel spent Sept. 11, 2001, wondering if his father, a police officer, would come home. Teel: "I remember it like it was yesterday."
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says David Vobora's versatility appealed to the Rams. Wagoner: "When injuries struck during the season, Vobora’s role on special teams expanded to his first career start at middle linebacker. In that game against the Dolphins, Vobora made 10 tackles and became the first Mr. Irrelevant to start a game since linebacker Marty Moore did it in New England in 1994."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch fills in blanks on the Rams' desire to clear salary-cap room via releasing Chris Draft. Thomas: "Before the start of training camp, they were roughly $12 million under the cap. But after signing their draft class, assembling a practice squad, hiring replacements for three players on the injured reserve list, and reaching an injury settlement with Eric Moore, they currently are only $4.5 million under the cap. There are a couple of players on the Rams' roster with easily reachable incentives in their contracts that will eat up almost all of that remaining cap space."
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch casts Draft's release in the context of failed past Rams management, noting that the team has $22 million in salary-cap charges for players no longer on the roster.
Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News visits with Shaun Hill and other 49ers for an in-depth look at what went wrong when the 49ers visited the Cardinals for a Monday night game last season. Hill: "In hindsight, it’s third down. I could have just spiked it. At the same time, this was my first game with (then-coordinator Mike) Martz. I certainly wasn’t going to go against one of his play calls. I wasn’t thinking that. He’s called a lot of great games in his life."
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat checks in with 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye. Maiocco: "Probably during the team's Saturday night meeting at the team hotel in downtown Phoenix, Raye will present his offensive players with the script of the opening 12 plays of the game."
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle checks in with 49ers cornerback Shawntae Spencer. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky: "Shawntae's a physical player. He's got quickness and speed and he's got great eyes, and he can jam guys at the line of scrimmage. That's why he won the job."
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike SandoKent Somers of the Arizona Republic sizes up the 49ers under Mike Singletary. Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle said he saw a different 49ers team after Singletary took over last season.