Around the NFC West: Kolb better off?

Kevin Kolb tossed two ugly interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, but still might have improved his standing in the Arizona Cardinals' quarterback race.

"Might have" would be the key phrase there. Kolb looked as good as he's looked all preseason for stretches of the Cardinals' game Thursday night against Tennessee. He did a better job hanging in the pocket early in the game. He bounced back from mistakes. He led a touchdown drive and generally succeeded in the two-minute offense.

But as Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic points out, there's nothing quite like a pick-six to open the second half. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "It numbs you. You've worked so hard to get back into it. At halftime, we said, 'We get the ball back. If we go out and score the game is tied.' And the next thing you know, one play, we're down 13 points. I'm really proud of our guys for fighting back from that point. That's a big deal on the road."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Kolb's competition for the job, John Skelton, missed an opportunity. Skelton: "It's frustrating getting out of the game that early and seeing the offense get into a flow, but you have to make the most of your opportunities and I don’t feel I did."

Also from Urban: non-quarterback notes. Urban: "Running back William Powell is leading the NFL is rushing this preseason. He had another 71 yards (on just seven carries) and has 231 yards on 33 carries (a 7.1 average) and three touchdowns. Yes, it's against deep backups usually, but seven yards a carry is seven yards a carry. When you have the head coach bringing up your name, unprompted, in the postgame presser, that’s a good sign. It’s going to be a tough call between Powell and Alfonso Smith."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com passes along a couple of updates from 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. Brandon Jacobs will earn a spot on the 53-man roster, and Colin Kaepernick will likely be the No. 2 quarterback.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says Harbaugh and Peyton Manning gave reporters the silent treatment regarding their offseason connections. Manning: "I can't speak for them. It's pretty well documented how all that went down in the offseason. Not really going down memory lane."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Harbaugh applies Indy racing strategies to coaching the 49ers. Harbaugh: "How can we get better, what facet can we tweak to get a little faster, where to reduce drag, where can we save time, where can we be more efficient? That's the whole operation of racing. They do it as a team. Everybody's doing a little. And that adds up to a lot."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune takes a closer look at players fighting for playing time and/or roster spots in Seattle. Williams on Terrell Owens: "He has a lot to overcome. And the fact that he finished without a catch and a bad drop against Denver is just scratching the surface. He still appears to be the same T.O. who complains when things are not going his way. And Pete Carroll will not put up with that from a fifth or six receiver -- see T.J. Houshmandzadeh."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says dropped passes haven't undermined tight end Anthony McCoy in the eyes of coach Pete Carroll.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times silences the alarm bells that rang upon hearing of the "little procedure" Doug Baldwin underwent to remove blood from a hamstring.

Also from O'Neil: Carroll isn't afraid to play rookies. O'Neil: "Carroll once worked for Bud Grant in Minnesota, one of the league's old-salt coaches who believed you lost a game for every rookie you played. But during Carroll's time at USC, he not only began to play his younger players, but he embraced the concept."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at how training camps have changed over the years. Rams assistant Dave McGinnis on the way it was years ago: "We'd have 120 guys in camp. It's an entirely different world. The league has evolved a lot with offseason training, with the type of condition that these players are in, and clearly now with the new CBA, there's new regulations. The first camp I went to was in Platteville, Wis. (in 1986) and it was two-a-days, every day, full pads, on your mark, get set, go. And so it's changed."

Also from Thomas: Injuries are hurting the Rams' depth on the defensive line. Thomas: "The team still has enough bodies at defensive tackle to get them through practice and Saturday's preseason game in Dallas, including Cornell Banks and recently signed John Gill. Meanwhile, defensive end Eugene Sims' ankle injury, which prompted the team to sign Vernon Gholston on Wednesday, wasn't as bad as initially feared. Sims, who was wearing a walking boot Wednesday, does not have a high ankle sprain -- an injury that could have sidelined him a month. As it is, he may miss a week or two."