Around the NFC West: Counseling the Cards

July, 28, 2008
7/28/08
8:39
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic offers counseling for Anquan Boldin and the Cardinals as their contract impasse simmers. Somers: "If Boldin performs at his usual level while taking the high road and allowing his agent to be the bad guy, the Cardinals will be under pressure to give him a deal comparable to (Larry) Fitzgerald's. And if they don't, they'll be forced to trade him to try to get value for one of the league's better receivers." We're a long way off from that. As the story notes, Boldin has three years remaining on his current deal.

Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explains why former Rams linebacker Brandon Chillar hasn't unseated Brady Poppinga as a starter in Green Bay. McGinn quotes an NFC personnel evaluator this way: "Chillar is a better athlete than Poppinga and will probably make more plays. He's an old-school, traditional outside linebacker. He can stack. But the reality is, if you've got those other two (A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett), you don't need a third guy to make a lot of plays. You just need him to be in the right spot." Poppinga is apparently more reliable than Chillar that way, which is to be expected because Poppinga has been in the Packers' system longer.

This Associated Press story about Marc Bulger concludes with an interesting quote from the Rams quarterback, who is apparently asserting more leadership now that longtime teammate Isaac Bruce is catching passes in San Francisco. Bulger: "It was tough before when Isaac would run a wrong route or something. I'd say something and he'd give you the Isaac look, so I kind of kept my mouth shut. I think now with some of the younger guys and even some of the older guys, they respect me now, because they think I have a better grasp of the offense than anyone in there. I have been in it for such a long time, and with knowledge you can have that confidence."

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune takes a closer look at Seahawks offensive lineman Mansfield Wrotto, who is suddenly getting work at center with the first-team offense. The Seahawks drafted Wrotto in 2007 with the fourth-round choice they acquired from San Francisco in the Darrell Jackson trade. If Wrotto develops into a contributor, we'll have tangible evidence of what already appears obvious: Seattle's new line coaches know how to develop younger players.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch breaks down the Rams' situation at receiver, with an eye toward Derek Stanley. Coats: "The Rams probably will employ six, and Torry Holt, Drew Bennett, plus draft picks Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton, almost surely are safe. If the team doesn't have the luxury of keeping (Dante) Hall strictly as a returner, then the last spot probably will come down to Stanley, Reche Caldwell, Marques Hagans, Dane Looker and Brandon Williams."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times takes a look at the Seahawks' situation at running back. Julius Jones and Maurice Morris are both starters, coach Mike Holmgren hedges. The trend in the league has been to sharing carries, but there's an old saying some coaches stand by: running back by committee means you don't have anyone worthy of the job.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer sets the scene as the Seahawks put on pads for the first time this summer. Offensive coordinator Gil Haskell:"It's as elemental as it sounds. It's just a different game."

Steve Korte of the Belleville News Democrat checks in with Rams left tackle Orlando Pace, who wants to leave the game on his own terms. Rams coach Scott Linehan is taking the optimistic view on Pace's recent injury troubles. He attributes them to bad luck, which he says usually doesn't stay bad. Unless you're the 2007 Rams, who couldn't get a break.

Chrissy Mauck of sf49ers.com caught up with former Bucs, Ravens, Seahawks, Browns and 49ers quarterback Trent Dilfer, who dropped by 49ers practice. Said Dilfer, now an analyst for ESPN: "I hope if I have a legacy at all with the 49ers that it was that I taught them a little bit about football, but most importantly, showed them what it means to be a great teammate at the quarterback position. In our room, we always emphasized that we couldn't be successful unless that room knows how to compete, but at the same time, help support and be a cheerleader for one another. We always made sure we had an absolute blast working hard and getting better and knowing that this thing is about wins and losses, not your personal achievements."

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