Around the NFC West: Leinart's demotion

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart declined comment until Friday after learning Derek Anderson would start against Chicago in the third exhibition game. Somers: "Whisenhunt selected his words carefully Thursday, but it's no secret the Cardinals want to see more confidence and leadership qualities from Leinart, the 10th overall pick in the 2006 draft. Leinart has thrown only 13 passes, completing 10, but most of those have been short throws, and Leinart has developed a reputation for "checking down" from his primary receivers, perhaps too quickly. It's a critical season for Leinart, who is due a hefty pay raise in 2011. If Leinart proves himself a starter, the Cardinals likely would renegotiate the contract. If Leinart fails, the Cardinals are likely to release him." Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. was apparently right all along in discounting Leinart this offseason. We spoke for the Football Today podcast Friday. I'll post that audio when it's available.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com did not expect Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt to make a quarterback change at this stage. Urban: "I’m not going to lie, and anyone who has read my stuff knows this anyway: I thought all along Matt Leinart would at least start the season under center. I suppose that can still happen. He will have Beanie Wells behind him at running back for the first time in Chicago barring something unforeseen, so maybe that helps in some way. But clearly, had Leinart played the way the Cards were hoping, Derek Anderson would not be starting against the Bears. I can still see a scenario where Leinart plays against the Rams Sept. 12, and obviously, I can see Anderson playing as well."

Also from Urban: The Cardinals want to see how Leinart and the rest of the team respond to Anderson's promotion.

Ben Malcolmson of seahawks.com says Earl Thomas was among the Seattle players most scared by a snake prank at team headquarters. This one comes with video. Nicely played.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team is looking for a way to keep cornerback Roy Lewis.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times gives Jamar Adams the edge over Kevin Ellison for a Seahawks roster spot at safety.

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says Leon Washington, not LenDale White, wound up being the most important running back Seattle acquired during the draft.

Also from Johns: A sore hip is sidelining Seahawks linebacker David Hawthorne.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald says the Seahawks plan to play their starters into the third quarter at Minnesota.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers and quarterback Alex Smith probably will not talk seriously about a new contract until after the season. Smith's agent was at practice Thursday. Also: "Undrafted rookie receiver Kevin Jurovich and rookie cornerback Phillip Adams are expected to see some action on punt and kickoff returns, along with Bobby Guillory, who muffed two punts in the first two exhibition games."

Also from Maiocco: Frank Gore will play one series, possibly more, against the Raiders on Saturday night. The starting offensive line will play the first half.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Gore, Michael Crabtree and Brian Westbrook will make their 2010 preseason debuts for the 49ers at Oakland.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Sam Bradford passed a significant test by playing well in his first preseason start. Thomas: "Yes, Bradford missed a wide-open Laurent Robinson for what would have been a third TD in the closing seconds of the first half. Robinson caught the ball, but out of bounds, right at the goal line. But maybe coach Steve Spagnuolo should concede what looked obvious Thursday, that Bradford will be his starter on Sept. 12 against Arizona."

Also from Thomas: New Rams majority owner Stan Kroenke addressed the team before the game Thursday night. He also had nice things to say about Bradford.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams suddenly appear relevant with Bradford at quarterback and Kroenke owning the team. Burwell: "So here's where new owner Stan Kroenke's presence could be immediately felt. No longer hamstrung by any budgetary restraints, general manager Billy Devaney needs to find a way to get Bradford some real receiving weapons. If you have invested as much in Bradford as reported (guaranteed $50 million), and now it looks like he's clearly worth the investment, wouldn't it be an equally wise strategy to surround him with the tools he needs to not only survive, but thrive?"

More from Thomas: Donnie Avery's knee injury appears serious.