NFC West: Sam Ramsden

Tight end Lance Kendricks put together one of the more impressive 2011 training camps from an NFC West rookie.

The St. Louis Rams hoped the second-round draft choice from Wisconsin would become a perfect fit for then-coordinator Josh McDaniels' offense. Kendricks led all rookie tight ends in receptions (27) and receiving yards (352), but he dropped five passes in 54 targets and wasn't as consistent as anticipated.

Nick Wagoner of says Kendricks has done some self-scouting to figure out what went wrong. Kendricks: "The main thing I saw was a lot of times when I was tired was when I made my most mistakes. Just being able to stay focused and fight through that and compete and go out there and just perform when I am tired was my main thing I wanted to do better. When you get tired, you can forget things and I would have a mental error here or there so I think most of it just came from fatigue." Noted: There should be no such troubles this season now that players have had fuller access to NFL conditioning programs.

Darren Urban of offers thoughts on the team's arrangement to practice with the Chiefs in Missouri this summer. Urban: "The move just made sense. The Cards would have had to fly home in the dead of night after the Hall of Fame game and trek up to Flagstaff the next afternoon for what would have amounted to two days of work before driving back down to fly out for the Chiefs game. Going right to Kansas City made sense, much like the Cards’ trip to Nashville back in 2010."

Also from Urban: a look at camp dates for the Cardinals.

Dan Hanzus and Marc Sessler of debate whether Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers have arrived. Hanzus: "It's a sweet tale, but one easier said than done. We have no doubt the Niners will be competitive, especially in a weak NFC West. But everything had to go right last season for the Niners to go 13-3 and win a playoff game." Noted: Now, now. There shall be no outdated criticism of the NFC West. Weak West? More like weak Rams. The rest of the division posted combined winning records against the NFC East, NFC North and NFC South. So there.

Clare Farnsworth of outlines Sam Ramsden's new responsibilities within the organization. Farnsworth: "The team’s longtime head trainer has moved upstairs at Virginia Mason Athletic Center -- into an office that is in short-shouting distance from the one occupied by general manager John Schneider; and into a bigger-picture role – with the title of director of player health and performance."

Brock Huard and Mike Salk of discuss whether Brandon Browner was indeed overrated, as KC Joyner suggested.

Matt Maiocco of sizes up the 49ers' tight ends, including Delanie Walker. Maiocco: "Walker, who enters the final year of his contract, had a forgettable offseason. In May, he went to the ground with a left knee injury. Although he declared himself fine, Walker never returned to full strength during the offseason program. On the final day of minicamp, Walker was on crutches as he was driven from the team's practice facility. Coach Jim Harbaugh said Walker is expected to be full strength for the opening of training camp. The first practice for veterans is scheduled for Thursday, July 27."
The Arizona Cardinals paid $12 million to quarterback Kevin Kolb last season.

They wound up paying him another $7 million this offseason, but only after failing to land Peyton Manning.

Did they also owe Kolb an explanation for their plans at the position? It's easy in retrospect to say they should have apprised Kolb of their plans, but showing sensitivity to Manning became the top priority for teams hoping to sign the four-time MVP quarterback.

The Cardinals didn't want to mess up their chances.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers reached out to Alex Smith late in the process, and Smith later denied reports that the 49ers' handling of the Manning pursuit had upset him at the time. These were sensitive situations.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Kolb did eventually get an explanation from coach Ken Whisenhunt. Kolb: "They didn't deny anything. They didn't lie. They didn't apologize for anything, like they shouldn't. It's kind of hard to 'if and but' around the situation, but without getting into too much detail about the situation, I just said, 'In the future, you can just communicate with me. I can take it, if this is the route you're going.' I'd just rather hear from him than the ticker or something. He agreed and that's how relationships grow and that's where we're headed."

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals tackle Levi Brown.

Darren Urban of says a smaller window for offseason conditioning means additional work.

Clare Farnsworth of says the team's voluntary offseason conditioning program began with baseline strength and flexibility testing. Trainer Sam Ramsden: "Basically what we're looking for is pain with movement, so we can pick something up and treat it. We're looking for imbalance, whether they do better with left versus right, so we know that's a predisposed factor to injury. So we're using it as a proactive, preventative tool to assess our players prior to beginning their offseason conditioning program."

Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle passes along recent comments from Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson regarding the value Paul McQuistan provides as a utility offensive lineman. Robinson: "Paul McQuistan, he was all over the line. I called him my MVP in midseason. He would laugh about it, but I think he definitely was. Without a guy like that being able to just step in, and without production dropping off, it made things very easy, especially for a fullback and a runner -- he opened lanes for us."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams coaches are allowed on the field with players Tuesday for the first time this offseason. The Rams are two weeks ahead of their division rivals, having been allowed to begin their voluntary offseason conditioning program April 2, when teams with new head coaches began. Coach Jeff Fisher: "Tuesday is our first opportunity to join the players on the field. Coaches have been prohibited from observing and participating up until this week. So we've got two days to introduce our offense and defense, some aspects of special teams, and get the players moving around a little bit."

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have too many needs to justify moving up for any one player near the top of the 2012 NFL draft.

Matt Maiocco of outlines the San Francisco 49ers' needs on defense, as he sees them. Maiocco: "With the departures of reserve safeties Reggie Smith and Madieu Williams, the 49ers must add a young player to compete with C.J. Spillman for the top backup spot behind starters Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner. Also, the 49ers would like to create more competition for the cornerback jobs."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Larry Grant's return gives the 49ers one player remaining from their 2008 draft class.

Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News is back with the second part of his interview with 49ers CEO Jed York, who has this to say about NFL reaction to the team securing a new stadium: "I think the league is ecstatic. This is the first stadium built just for pro football in the history of California. If you look at the other ones, Qualcomm Stadium (in San Diego) was for baseball, Candlestick Park was for baseball, the Coliseum in Oakland was built for baseball and mixed use. In Southern California, the Coliseum and Rose Bowl, those were for the Olympics and college sports. This is the first building just for pro football, and it speaks volumes for the amount of work that went into it. California has been such a great market, and we just haven't had the venues to host the great American sporting event (the Super Bowl)."

Stephanie M. Lee of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' eventual relocation to Santa Clara for games will cost San Francisco money.