Around the NFC West: Hawks missed Kerney

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

See also: Saturday night edition.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times checks in with the Seahawks' defense. Stopping the pass was supposed to be a strength for Seattle, but the Vikings had success through the air. A couple things come to mind. One, defense is about emotion, and it's tough to fabricate those emotions when the stakes are so low. Two, Patrick Kerney makes a big difference for Seattle's pass rush. Kerney did not play against the Vikings.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune describes the Seahawks' exhibition opener as surprisingly successful given injuries to key players. Boling lists several players who caught his attention: Matt Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace, Leonard Weaver, Steve Vallos, Brandon Mebane, Howard Green, Jordan Kent, Lawrence Jackson, Owen Schmitt, David Hawthorne and Jamar Adams.

Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks might enlist former Sonics announcer Kevin Calabro to work all exhibition games in the future. Calabro made his Seahawks debut Friday night in place of Verne Lundquist.

Scott Johnson of the Everett Herald caught up with Bobby Engram for a story about the receiver's professionalism in the face of contractual unhappiness.

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle was thinking the 49ers might finish 9-7 this season. The team's performance in the exhibition opener convinced her that won't happen. I've had a tough time envisioning a .500 or better record for this team given the quarterback situation. Questions about the offensive line also seem warranted.

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle sees big things for Josh Morgan, the 49ers' impressive rookie receiver. A revelation: Frank Gore, the team's standout running back, recently told a reporter Morgan "is going to be a beast."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes Orlando Pace as "rusty" in pass protection during the left tackle's first game back from shoulder surgery. Pace: "It's a lot of rust to knock off. I had no real problems as far as pain or anything like that. My thing is more mental and just using (the shoulder) without thinking about it. And getting comfortable and doing the things I'm used to doing."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams haven't had contract talks with holdout running back Steven Jackson. Antonio Pittman was most impressive among Jackson's backups during a 34-13 defeat at Tennessee in the exhibition opener. Coach Scott Linehan: "We have a pretty good idea of what Steven is capable of doing, and there is quite a bit unknown about our younger backs. I think it's a great opportunity for ... the other guys to move up the ladder and get reps with the other groups."

Also from Coats: Chris Long, the Rams' first-round draft choice, made no obvious contributions during his first live action. Brock Berlin took the early lead over Bruce Gradkowski in the race to become the third quarterback. And receiver Dane Looker made a strong case for sticking around at least one more season.