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Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Around the NFC West: Fines mount for Jackson


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the precise breakdown on what the Rams are fining Steven Jackson for each day of camp he misses: $15,116. The total is $181,392, but we should expect Jackson to get that back, and then some, if he reaches agreement on a new deal. Coats says the offense has hit its stride and found its rhythm after a slow start to camp. That becomes much more sustainable with Jackson in the lineup.

Peter King of SI.com expects the Rams to reach agreement with Jackson by the middle of the month. Reasons King: "The team knows how important Jackson is to its offense, and I think the front office will crack the safe for him."

Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers sizes up the quarterback situation for San Francisco. He thinks Alex Smith still has to be considered the favorite. The 49ers seem to be waiting for Smith to assert himself. Smith's laid-back personality might not lend itself to that approach. You don't get the feeling, ever, that Mike Nolan and Mike Martz are pulling for Smith. This is by design; they've gone out of their way to create a fair competition, accounting for every last snap. They want Smith to earn it, and so far that hasn't happened.

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News thinks the league should standardize statkeeping for tackles. He points out that the 49ers' Patrick Willis supposedly collected 117 more tackles than the Seahawks' Lofa Tatupu last season. Gosselin is right. Statistics for tackles are a joke. He thinks the league should hire a former coach to chart tackles from every game every week. I respect the thoughts of anyone who includes the following sentence in a story about this subject: "The first time I put together a league-wide tackle chart in 1992, there were three teams that averaged better than two tackles per play."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' sketchy depth on the offensive line faces another test after a broken arm sidelined backup guard Carlton Medder. Starting center Al Johnson is already out until the regular season. Third-team center Scott Peters is finished for the season. The offensive line is one area where the Cardinals cannot afford injuries.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer singles out receiver Ben Obomanu as the Seahawks' offensive player of the day. This quote from Obomanu suggests he "gets" what needs to be done at the position: "If (Matt) Hasselbeck is not comfortable with how you're getting into your route and where you're going, you're not one of those guys he's going to call upon during the season. I think it was a pretty good day to be in the right spot and to make those catches." Obomanu appears to be taking the lead for that fourth receiver role. It's still early, of course, but this is a good sign for Obomanu.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Obomanu did enough in practice for coach Mike Holmgren to offer accolades during the session. Holmgren wasn't happy Monday when the defense dominated his offense. He always in a better mood when the offense does its part.