Around the NFC West: Red Bryant's impact

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times weighs Red Bryant's impact on the Seahawks' defense. O'Neil: "There might not be a bigger player on Seattle's defense than Bryant, something as figuratively true as it is literally accurate. The 6-foot-4, 330-pound defensive end's presence made all the difference in the run defense last year." Earlier: What losing Bryant and Colin Cole meant to the Seahawks' run defense last season.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team is excited about Josh Pinkard's prospects at strong safety in the next preseason game. Starter Kam Chancellor will not play. Farnsworth: "With Kam Chancellor sidelined by a sore foot, Pinkard will start at strong safety in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos in Denver. If his performance on the practice field this week -- and especially today -- is any indication, the second-year safety is ready for the challenge and the opportunity."

Also from Farnsworth: The Seahawks' tight ends can do pretty much everything.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Pinkard overcame three ACL injuries while at USC. Williams: "Pinkard is part of a fierce battle for a roster spot at safety that includes veteran Atari Bigby, along with fifth-round draft pick Mark LeGree and undrafted free agent Jeron Johnson." It'll be tough to keep Johnson off the roster based on what we've seen to this point.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic sizes up the Cardinals as the team breaks training camp. On Kevin Kolb: "Kolb has been everything coaches hoped. His physical skills are obvious, but he's also picked up the offensive system quickly, and his teammates like him. Keeping him healthy is paramount."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com updates the team's injury situation heading into the third preseason game. Urban: "Coach Ken Whisenhunt wouldn’t rule out anyone for Saturday’s game save for cornerback Michael Adams (knee), although he acknowledged quarterback John Skelton (ankle) was unlikely to go (and Adrian Wilson, of course, won’t be out there.) There are some question marks. Rookie receiver DeMarco Sampson tweaked his hamstring Wednesday and sat out Thursday. Tight end Rob Housler (groin) is getting better but he missed a second straight day."

Also from Urban: Defensive coordinator Ray Horton will spend game days in the booth, not on the sideline. That is the plan for now after Horton tested out both options during preseason. Horton: "When you are up there you can evaluate everything yourself. I just wanted to explore all avenues, and make sure there wasn’t a better way to do something."

More from Urban: wrapping up Cardinals camp. Patrick Peterson: "As a rookie, I don’t think I have had enough of the NFL experience. It’s a business and you have to move on, and (the season) is up on us right now."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch runs through the Rams' roster with an eye toward which players are likely to earn roster spots. He's putting Donnie Avery in the "safe and sound" category, with rookies Austin Pettis and Greg Salas fighting for roster spots. I'd be mildly surprised if the Rams cut one of their rookie draft choices at the position. I could also see the Rams keeping their eye out for a veteran interior offensive lineman.

Also from Thomas: a look at Pettis and Salas. Thomas: "Normally, a third- and fourth-round pick is bulletproof during the cutdowns as rookies in this age of the salary cap. Unless the player is injured or an outright disaster, teams don't want to swallow the signing bonus by cutting the player. With the new rookie pay system in effect, the signing bonuses are lower this year across the board. But lower enough to make it easier to cut a mid-round draft pick? Probably not."

More from the Post-Dispatch: five things to watch in the Rams' third preseason game, including safety Darian Stewart.

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says there's a good chance Ben Leber, Brady Poppinga and Stewart will start the preseason game against Kansas City.

Also from Wagoner: The Rams are seeking greater consistency in their next preseason game.

More yet from Wagoner: keys to the Kansas City game.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com explains why Jim Harbaugh wants the 49ers to get first-team reps for backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Harbaugh: "Just looking forward to what's going to happen during the season, I'd rather have Colin ready and experience football with the starters, against the starters and National Football League savvy before we have to get to that point."

Also from Maiocco: Braylon Edwards has made an effort to develop a rapport with 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. It's less clear whether Smith and Michael Crabtree have connected well enough. Their lockers are much closer in proximity this season.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Brit Miller could beat out Moran Norris as the 49ers' starting fullback. Barrows: "The 49ers have three options. They can keep Norris and not Miller, a seventh-round pick. They can keep both Miller and Norris, or they can keep the rookie and cut the veteran. Miller is faster and more fluid than Norris, 33, and would allow the 49ers to be more versatile on offense. Norris, however, has more experience at what a fullback primarily needs to be good at -- blocking." Norris is the oldest player on one of the NFL's youngest offenses.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says Chilo Rachal gave up burgers for salmon in his efforts to improve his conditioning for the 2011 season. Branch: "Rachal has already met one goal: At 304 pounds, he's certainly lighter. He lost about 10 pounds during the course of the 2010 season and dropped about 30 more during the offseason, thanks to a diet loaded with fish and grilled chicken. In an effort to avoid In-N-Out runs, he paid a company to deliver his health-conscious food daily. Rachal says his extreme makeover has relieved his once-aching joints."

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says it's pretty clear Ahmad Brooks will win a starting job.

Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Kaepernick's footwork appears to be improving.