Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers says San Francisco could have interest in Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia if Tampa Bay acquires Brett Favre. Maiocco: "The 49ers are under pressure to win this season. An easy argument can be made that Garcia would easily give the 49ers their best opportunity to succeed." After watching Alex Smith and Shaun Hill battle early in camp, the 49ers started funneling more reps to J.T. O'Sullivan. Garcia has played for four teams since leaving the 49ers after the 2003 season.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune describes how receiver Ben Obomanu is stepping up his game. Veteran receiver Bobby Engram uses the term "gamer" to describe Obomanu, high praise coming from such an established player. Also: Obomanu is one of four Seahawks from Auburn's 2002 recruiting class. By my count, Seattle and Washington lead the NFL with four Auburn players apiece. Seattle's total took a hit when Chris Gray retired. The NFC West has eight players from Auburn. No other division has more than six.
Jim Stingl of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel takes an irreverent look at Rams training camp, a diversion from all things Favre. Stingl: "Bob Brown, who drove up here from St. Louis with his 12-year-old grandson, Taylor, boasted that the boy got Scott Linehan's autograph on Monday. I nodded and pretended I knew who that is. Lucky I didn't ask what position he plays. Turns out he's the head coach. I sometimes even forget the Rams aren't in Los Angeles anymore." This is what every franchise aspires to, becoming a punch line for Milwaukee's bored.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic describes Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald's attempts to get even better. Fitzgerald seems to be stepping up his efforts after the organization rewarded him with a $40 million contract. Fitzgerald is focusing on route running. He has watched video of Torry Holt and others. Coach Ken Whisenhunt watched Fitzgerald run a go route recently and said: "He was hightailing it down the field, and maybe that's something he wouldn't have done consistently in the past, but he's really working on those things now. He's working to be a better receiver."
Somers also sizes up J.J. Arrington's chances of earning a roster spot after Marcel Shipp's release. Arrington said he wants to show people he can run between the tackles.
Chrissy Mauck of sf49ers.com has a photo showing free safety Dashon Goldson transporting nachos and an Icee from a theater snack bar. Coach Mike Nolan called off practice and took the team to break down film of "The Dark Knight."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says receiver Anquan Boldin returned to Cardinals practice in a limited role. A hamstring injury will keep Boldin from playing in the exhibition opener against the Saints on Thursday night.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the latest from the Rams' trip to Tennessee for practices -- and an exhibition game -- with the Titans. Four brawls broke out in 2000 when the teams practiced shortly after their epic finish to Super Bowl XXXIV.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch leads his notebook with a short feature on receiver Dane Looker, a player the Rams have tried to replace over the years, to no avail. Also: Orlando Pace is about to step up his workouts as he returns from off-season shoulder surgery.
Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer checks in with Seattle's Pro Bowl linebackers, Lofa Tatupu and Julian Peterson. The Seahawks took a chance when they traded up to select Tatupu in the second round of the 2005 draft, a move some considered a reach. Seattle seemed to overpay when pursuing Peterson in free agency two years ago, but he has produced without succumbing to injuries that hastened his departure from San Francisco.
Doug Drinen of Pro Football Reference is happy to have the starting records of every quarterback since 1960. He runs a chart showing quarterbacks with unusual records against specific franchises. Steve Young was 1-8 against the Packers, but 101-47 against other teams. Jim Zorn was 6-0 against the Jets, 38-62 against other teams. Tom Brady has the best starting record against winning teams (45-21, or .682), but Joe Montana is close behind at 60-32 (.652).
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reads between the lines on how Alex Smith performed in the two-minute drill recently. Smith might have helped himself.
Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says Frank Gore is taking advice from Marshall Faulk, who fared OK in Mike Martz's offense, as I recall. Gore dropped to 212 pounds, same as what Faulk weighed.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says fullback Leonard Weaver is approaching this camp with more urgency after struggling last summer. An unpleasant trip to Mike Holmgren's office still resonates with Weaver. Says Holmgren now: "He is as talented as any fullback I've ever had."