Around the NFC West: Chasing greatness

The Arizona Cardinals did not suppress their excitement for Patrick Peterson when asked about him over the summer.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt and receiver Larry Fitzgerald said they thought Peterson, the team's first-round pick in 2010, was on a fast track to becoming a great all-around defensive player. They saw the talent, work ethic and desire necessary to reach that level

"I think he is going to be the best in a very short period of time," Fitzgerald said at training camp.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com points to one somewhat overlooked play from Week 2 as evidence for Peterson's unusual skill set. Urban: "As running back Stevan Ridley took the handoff, Peterson exploded off the ball, driving 6-foot-4, 263-pound tight end Michael Hoomanawanui backward and into the path of Ridley, sprinting on a sweep toward the open side of the field. The 6-2, 219-pound Peterson then disengaged quickly from the block and grabbed Ridley, dragging him down for a stunning four-yard loss." Noted: Urban provides a video clip of the play. It's worth a look.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic updates cornerback Jamell Fleming's progress as a rookie. Also, John Skelton returned to practice on a limited basis.

Also from Somers: Quentin Groves' career turnaround.

Chase Stuart of Football Perspective notes that Alex Smith's statistical tendencies -- higher sack rate, lower interception rate, fewer passing yards per game than average -- match up very closely with Jim Harbaugh's profile as a quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts under Lindy Infante. Stuart: "The two years before Harbaugh arrived, Smith had a 6.2 percent sack rate and a 3.1 percent interception rate, both numbers which were pretty close to league average. But Alex Smith 2.0 is not trying to prove to the world that he’s the No. 1 pick who can do everything; this version is concerned with minimizing risks at all costs. So far, it’s been a very successful formula." Noted: Smith actually assumed his current statistical profile several games before Harbaugh arrived. He had eight touchdowns, one interception and 15 sacks over his final six appearances under Mike Singletary.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' base defense will finally get a workout against the run-oriented Minnesota Vikings. Branch: "Unlike the season’s first two games, the 49ers will have the benefit of defending the run with their base defense, allowing them to employ Isaac Sopoaga, their 330-pound line-clogging nose guard. Sopoaga, a starter, has played eight snaps this season. In contrast to the Packers and Lions, however, the Vikings will match their strength against the strength of the 49ers’ defense. Thanks to the presence of [Adrian] Peterson, Minnesota ranks first in the NFL in rushing yards per game (138.6) since 2007."

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers safety Dashon Goldson was heartened to hear what Ronnie Lott had to say about him. "What I love about Goldson is this: He just plays the game. He’s not patting himself on the back. He’s not showboating. He just works. He’s a great tackler and an exceptional ball-hawker."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com passes along Steven Jackson's thought on the groin injury Jackson suffered during a 20-yard run Sunday. Jackson: "It was just another freak deal. We have been in this situation before; groins, quads, they’re things that tend to bother me from time to time. I’m not bothered by it, I’m not depressed by it. I’m looking forward to seeing how I feel on Sunday. Coach Fisher has given me the chance to still be able to play so we’ll continue to take care of myself and see what happens on Sunday."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams weren't fazed by Robert Griffin III's comments suggesting they took cheap shots at the quarterback Sunday. Jackson: "It’s not the Big 12. I don’t think we’re a dirty team. I think we’re a team that’s hungry and young and eager and ready to make a turnaround in the franchise."

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seahawks fans have caught Aaron Rodgers' attention heading into the Packers' game at Seattle. Boling: "Yes, Rodgers is accurate, savvy, athletic … and smart enough to flatter the Sea-hawks crowd beforehand. It surely won’t quiet them down Monday night, but it was a wise quarterback to at least give it a try."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune checks in with Matt Flynn before Seattle faces Flynn's former team. As for losing the starting job to Russell Wilson? Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell: "Initially, it was a shock to him. He took it like any quarterback you would hope took it. He wasn’t happy about it. It wasn’t how he expected it to go, or how he saw it in his mind, so he wasn’t happy. But once he moved on from that, I think he’s been great for Russ (rookie starter Russell Wilson). … He’s helping out any way he can from the sideline."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com passes along thoughts from Golden Tate after the NFL fined Tate $21,000 for a blindside hit on the Cowboys' Sean Lee.