Around the NFC West: Can Leinart play?

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' best option at quarterback is to fully support Matt Leinart and hope for the best. Somers: "(Ken) Whisenhunt always has practiced tough love with Leinart. The coach wants a quarterback who arrives at the team facility early, stays late and is passionate about the game. In the months after arriving in Arizona in 2007, Whisenhunt made it clear that Leinart didn't fit the job description. He challenged the quarterback to work harder at both football and staying off the gossip sites. By all accounts, Leinart has met the challenge. No one faults his work ethic or lifestyle choices any longer. But can he play? Who knows?"

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals pass-rush hopeful Stevie Baggs, formerly of the CFL. Baggs: "I've been the sacks leader at every level, from high school to college to pro and I don't intend to stop now. Now I'm here and I feel like I belong. I know I can play this game at the highest level. Once I get in between those lines, I'm going to do what I have to do. That's never been a problem. The problem for me has always been opportunity."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the situation with Deuce Lutui shows how labor unrest is affecting the Cardinals.

Also from Urban: Larry Fitzgerald thinks Cardinals assistant Russ Grimm will become an NFL head coach, particularly if Arizona continues to enjoy success.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers coach Mike Singletary would like to see more progress from third-string quarterback Nate Davis. Singletary: "You know he's coming -- not as fast as you would like. And not as fast as the coaches would like. But he's coming. I think the biggest thing with Nate is that we have to figure out how he learns and get that burning desire to, just whatever it takes to be out here and to get it done. I know he can do it, it's just a matter of him doing it. So, time will tell." The play I recalled Davis making Monday saw him trying to outrun the defense on a scramble. Quarterbacks have to beat defenses with their arms.

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says Patrick Willis, coming off knee surgery this offseason, participated in individual drills Monday.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider compares the 49ers to the Eagles in their approach to hiring football people with less experience. Lynch: "However, most successful teams follow the more conventional path of hiring proven, experienced coaches and administrators and that includes the 49ers. The team became a league standard bearer under the guidance of Bill Walsh and John McVay. Cracks began to form in the dynasty when the team began to forsake experience for friendship."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers and Raiders will not hold joint practices this summer. Singletary: "I just think this year we're going to stay among ourselves and continue to get better. Everything we need to do, just do it amongst ourselves."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune expects the Seahawks to force more turnovers after using a first-round draft choice for safety Earl Thomas. Williams: "Just three years ago in 2007, Seattle was one of the best in the league defending the pass, finishing tied for fourth in the league with 20 interceptions and only giving up a league-best 15 touchdowns through the air that season. But things have gone downhill since then. Part of the reason was the team’s inability to sustain a consistent pass rush, with players like Patrick Kerney banged up and at the end of their careers. Cornerback Marcus Trufant, the team’s best cover corner, also has been banged up the past, two seasons, resulting in less reliable play in the back end of the defense. The result of Seattle’s two, main defenders involved in the passing game not playing to their potential was the Seahawks ranking last overall in pass defense in 2008 and 30th last season."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams great Isaac Bruce plans to announce his retirement Wednesday. Coats: "Bruce will retire as one of only six players in NFL history to top 1,000 catches; he ranks fifth with 1,024. He is second in receiving yards, with 15,208, and ninth in TD catches with 91."

Also from the Post-Dispatch: a 1999 column about Bruce by Bernie Miklasz. Bruce: "People misinterpret me. They say I don't smile. I smile a lot. They say I always look mean, and that I'm hard to approach. But how would you know unless you approach me? You don't know a book until you open and see what's in there, on the pages. The reason that I'm quiet is, I like to get to know a person first. I like to see what a person is about before I start opening up to them. I withhold. And I watch. The least said is the best said."

Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat expects the Rams to retire Bruce's No. 80 jersey. Balzer: "Several reports claiming there is no compensation in the deal are inaccurate. There is a conditional draft pick based on him playing for the Rams, which, of course, won’t happen. NFL rules require that trades have something in them from both teams."