NFC West: Randy Couture

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch cites sources as saying Rams receiver Donnie Avery suffered a stress fracture in his left foot. He suggests stress fractures can be slow to heal. The Rams set the timetable at four to six weeks. Thomas: "The Rams worked out two free agents Sunday: defensive end Shaun Smith [most recently with Cleveland] and safety Anthony Scirrotto [most recently with Carolina]. But no wide receivers. That could change this week."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says injuries are slowly mounting for the Rams. Adam Carriker could miss two weeks after spraining an ankle. In other news, rookie James Laurinaitis is getting work with the starting defense for the first time.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch profiles Laurinaitis, who explains his neck -- or lack thereof -- as something beyond his control. Laurinaitis: "Yeah, yeah, I know. Believe it or not, I didn't do anything to get it like this. No special exercises. That's all genetics. When your dad is a pro wrestler and your mom is a power lifter, this is the kind of neck you get. I had no choice, really."

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says Laurinaitis is catching on quickly.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals like their mix of tight ends even though the position carries some uncertainty for the team. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "It's great we have competition, and it's making those guys perform at a high level. We still have four [preseason] games to play and that's going to go a ways in determining how it does shake out."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson would like to become the 10th player in NFL history with 20 sacks and 20 interceptions during a career. He needs two interceptions and 1.5 sacks to get there. I'd be surprised if he fell short while playing in a full season.

Also from Urban: thoughts after the first week of training camp. Avoiding injuries in the defensive front seven is key. Also, Tim Hightower has a clear edge on Beanie Wells after Wells suffered an ankle injury during his first practice.

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com quotes Seahawks offensive coordinator Greg Knapp as saying the competition at receiver is the best he has seen in 15 years of coaching.

John Morgan of Field Gulls offers his take on how the Seahawks might play defense this season after watching them in practice Sunday. Morgan: "Ends will drop into coverage. The Seahawks will use [John] Marshall-style stunts and zone blitzes. Josh Wilson will be an active player and Seattle will not be shy to go nickel. Tweener ends like [Darryl] Tapp and Nick Reed (should he make the squad) might rush from the second level. The secondary will play underneath the receiver and play for the ball. Tweener tackles like Cory Redding and Lawrence Jackson will slide inside. And defenders will get their hands up and attempt to tip the ball. Leroy Hill and Lawrence Jackson each got a piece of one and the resulting wounded duck could've fallen anywhere and to anyone."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune also focuses on the Seahawks' competition at receiver. He also notes that center Chris Spencer could return from an ankle injury this week.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald recaps Seahawks practice Sunday and includes a list of players who did not practice. Lofa Tatupu received a day off. Boyle: "Here's the rest of the list of players who didn't practice today: LT Walter Jones (back), CB Marcus Trufant (back), G/C Grey Ruegamer (elbow), C Chris Spencer (ankle), LB D.D. Lewis (knee), and LB Will Herring (groin). Lewis didn't suffer a recent injury, but rather is getting some periodic time off in camp to rest his knee, which was scoped in the offseason."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat takes a player-by-player look at the 49ers on offense. Maiocco on Shaun Hill: "He has done nothing to lose the starting job. It's important in this offense that the quarterback be able to pose a threat down the field to keep the defense honest. After the first few days, there were some questions. But Hill seems to have focused on showing that aspect of his game. He connected on several deep passes Saturday. The first week of training camp was the best he's looked at this time of year. In my mind, he's still the front-runner to win the starting job Week 1, but a lot can happen in the first two exhibition games before Mike Singletary makes the call."

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle provides a timeline for the 49ers' practice Thursday.

Also from Crumpacker: a look at how 49ers players prepared for training camp. Crumpacker on Patrick Willis: "The team's star linebacker spent three weeks in Las Vegas doing mixed martial arts training at the gym owned by MMA star Randy Couture. He boxed, dabbled in jujitsu and sparred with trainers and fighters."

The 49ers' Web site poses 20 offbeat questions to guard Chilo Rachal. We find out he likes to sing "Billy Jean" in the shower.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Vernon Davis, Frank Gore and Ahmad Brooks are having good camps for the 49ers. Jason Hill, Bear Pascoe and Thomas Clayton haven't impressed him quite so much.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers have high hopes for Davis -- still.

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