Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points to running back Marshall Faulk as the key figure on the Rams' Greatest Show on Turf offenses. Burwell: "I am sure that some folks would love to have me put all sorts of qualifiers behind this comment that Faulk was the hands-down most valuable player of the Rams championship era. But I feel no need to break up the sentence with words like 'arguably.' This is a flat-out, dead-on, simple as can be fact of football life."
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Faulk had no equal as an all-around running back. Miklasz: "Of the 27 modern-era backs to reach Canton before Faulk, only six rushed for more yards: Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett and Jim Brown. But among the 27 modern-day backs, only Smith and Payton had more yards from scrimmage than Faulk (12,279.) And this is what separates Faulk from the others: He has the most receptions (767) and the most receiving yards (6,587) of any Hall of Fame running back. Faulk, in fact, has more catches than 17 Hall of Fame wide receivers."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch assesses how Cadillac Williams' addition will affect the Rams. Thomas: "The search for a backup to Pro Bowler Steven Jackson has been an ongoing saga for three offseasons. Because of the lockout, it spilled into training camp this year. But the addition of Williams, plus the arrival of Atlanta free agent Jerious Norwood on Tuesday, gives the Rams sudden depth and flexibility in the backfield."
Also from Thomas: Rams executive Kevin Demoff negotiates rookie salaries that are palindromes, according to Mac's Football Blog. Demoff has been doing this for at least a couple years, toying with the system.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com looks at how the team's free-agent additions will fit. On Justin Bannan: "In hopes of getting better against the run, the Rams brought in this big body to help occupy blockers. Bannan will probably be plugged right into the starting lineup as well, holding down the position next to Fred Robbins on first and second down."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com has this to say about newly signed center Jonathan Goodwin: "Goodwin (6-foot-3, 318) is expected to start at center for the 49ers this season. The club appeared satisfied with the play of Adam Snyder at center through the first week of camp after David Baas left the organization to sign a lucrative free-agent contract with the New York Giants. The 49ers signed Goodwin, in part, because of his familiarity with the scheme and the same blocking techniques. Now, the versatile Snyder can serve as a backup at each of the team's offensive line positions."
Taylor Price of 49ers.com says rookie Aldon Smith is making a positive impression. Price: "In his first week of practices with the 49ers, Smith’s work in one-on-one pass rushing drills has been impressive so far. There, he’s flashed pass-rushing moves that utilize his propeller-like, 83 and 7/8-inch wingspan. Smith also spends time in seven-on-seven periods covering tight ends in passing routes sometimes 20 yards down the field."
Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat passes along a transcript from 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman's interview session. Roman on working with Vernon Davis: "Tight ends are something I hold near and dear to my heart and I just love giving them tips, and we talk through things and Vernon is a very, very professionally minded guy, very impressive work ethic and loves to pick up little tidbits. It’s just something else he can add to his game, so we throw things back and forth and work on drills and we just spend a little extra time refining things. He’s a real pleasure to work with, real pleasure to work with."
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News has this to say about the 49ers' stadium plans: "To refresh your browser in terms of the 49ers’ stadium, it offers a C-shape bowl with a west-side suite tower, in a relatively tight space. To drop the bowl lower to the field, there are no club-level suites, per the request of 49ers owner John York at the project’s onset. That is intended to create a college-stadium atmosphere (although Lambeau Field’s redesign offers that, too)."
Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals deserve credit for spending wisely in free agency.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals hope guard Deuce Lutui will do a better job controlling his weight after meeting an unfriendly fate during free agency. Somers: "For the second consecutive year, Lutui has cost himself millions by failing to control his weight. It's the main reason the Cardinals didn't sign him to a multiyear deal last year. It's the reason the Bengals cut him this week after agreeing to terms on a two-year, $8 million deal. So Lutui, who is from Mesa, returned home to the team that drafted him, signing a one-year deal worth far less than the $5 million he would have made this year in Cincinnati."
Also from Somers: Veteran safety Adrian Wilson likes what he sees from rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson. Wilson: "I love the kid, honestly. His confidence level makes me confident. He knows the playbook. He knows the things we want him to do. He doesn't talk back, which is great. You can tell he's very well-rounded and he wants to be great."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com passes along a story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette detailing a generous move by defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Horton sold for $20 a prized vehicle.
Also from Urban: Veteran defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday shares his mindset heading into his 14th season in the NFL.
More from Urban: Will Beanie Wells bounce back from a down season? Coach Ken Whisenhunt, alluding to Wells' draft status: "You have to understand Beanie’s makeup. That was tough for Beanie. Quite frankly, he didn’t handle it as well as he probably could have, and that’s part of maturity. He’s a different player from that standpoint this year. I don’t question Beanie’s toughness. I have seen Beanie do things when he was nicked up. What Beanie has had to learn is you have to adapt to whatever you are faced with."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com looks at changes to the team's roster. There have been many.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times runs through a few roster moves for Seattle. The Seahwks signed Kelly Jennings, Michael Johnson, Zach Miller, Jeff Reed, Chase Reynolds and Jimmy Wilkerson. The team released Ladi Ajiboye, Wes Byrum, Michael Huey, Zac Lee and Blake Sorensen.
Also from O'Neil: a look at the Seahawks in free agency. O'Neil: "Seattle had 22 players entering unrestricted free agency, tied for second-most in the league. Seven of those free agents have been re-signed, but only defensive tackle Brandon Mebane came with what could be considered a sizeable deal."
More from O'Neil: Former Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has hit the ground running in Tennessee. O'Neil: "Hasselbeck was off to Nashville without getting a chance to really say goodbye. The Seahawks took out a half-page newspaper ad on Sunday, thanking Hasselbeck, his wife Sarah and their children Annabelle, Mallory and Henry for their contributions to the community. Hasselbeck said he appreciated the gesture. During his trip east, he wrote a letter summarizing his feelings to the man who shared so many of his experiences -- both the successes and failures -- during Hasselbeck's decade with the team. That's how Hasselbeck wound up emailing Seahawks owner Paul Allen for the first time. He got a response, too."
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle says the Seahawks have interest in Viking linebacker Ben Leber, according to John Clayton.