<
>

Around the NFC West: Martz to booth

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz plans to work games from the coaches' booth instead of the sideline. This seems like the smart decision. Martz is a strong personality. The 49ers probably need him to be at his analytical best during games. Quarterbacks coach Ted Tollner will be on the sideline to communicate directly with Alex Smith, Shaun Hill or whoever might be playing quarterback for the 49ers.

Also from Barrows, turns out recovering 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley wasn't bitten by a bug or spider or scorpion or vampire (to borrow from Barrows' previous tongue-in-cheek description). Staley was simply walking on the beach when he cut his foot. The foot became infected.

Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers was also in on the Martz interview. He provides a Martz quote that might offer encouragement to fans wondering if Vernon Davis and even fellow tight end Delanie Walker will become a go-to-threat in the offense. Martz: "What makes it hard on the defense is the fact that they're substantial blockers. If they weren't, it would have a different effect on the defense. If Frank Gore was not back there ... all those things with that inside receiver, you've got a blocker, you got a runner, you have different structures of defense where a vertical tight end now can become a serious threat."

Ross Tucker's column for SI.com calls quarterback camp battles a farce, pointing to the Alex Smith-Shaun Hill competition in San Francisco as one example. These are usually imbalanced and unfair competitions in which those making the decisions sometimes have a personal stake in the outcome, Tucker writes. The column is very well written and persuasive.

Jake Wagman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, via the St. Louis Business Journal, quotes radio talker Rush Limbaugh as expressing potential interest in purchasing the Rams. Not that the Rams are for sale. They are simply monitoring offers as a courtesy, as ownership suggested recently.

Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune provides a detailed report from Seahawks practice today. Looks like Logan Payne is making a push to be the fourth receiver behind Bobby Engram, Nate Burleson and the injured Deion Branch. Something to keep in mind while Courtney Taylor deals with a tight hammy.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer offers a concurring opinion on Payne as the player of the day for Seattle. Of course, we all remember the player of the day from one year ago (July 29, 2007, actually, as that was the first day of Seahawks camp last year). What, you've forgotten? It was cornerback Josh Wilson. Point being: It's early. Taylor and the other receivers have plenty of time to show.