Around the NFC West: Cards' Wells a 'beast'?

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Cardinals first-round draft choice Beanie Wells has dropped from 247 to 229 pounds since beginning workouts under acclaimed strength and conditioning coach John Lott. That has to be a good sign for the injury-slowed running back from Ohio State (Wells, not Lott). Lott: "I think this kid has a chance to do something. He's got the tools. ... He could be a beast."

Also from Urban: Lott pushes players during a hike up Camelback Mountain.

Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com previews Jim Mora's climb with Roger Goodell on Mount Rainier. Farnsworth: "A crew from NFL Films is on hand to capture the climb and also produce national and local TV spots for the alliance between the league and United Way. KING-TV's Paul Silvi was planning to take part in the climb and Sam Farmer, the NFL writer from the Los Angeles Times, was planning to make the first leg to Camp Muir with the group."

Gregg Bell of the Associated Press describes Goodell as an avid skier accustomed to 11,000-foot elevations in Colorado.

Josh Bean of the Mobile Press-Register says Shaun Alexander has speaking engagements in Alabama this week through Fellowship of Christain Athletes.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Seahawks fullback Owen Schmitt pleaded not guilty to a DUI charge.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks must improve on third down. Williams: "The Seahawks ranked last in the league in time of possession. Controlling the clock is key because it keeps the other team's offense off the field and allows your offense to get into scoring position."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers' exhibition opener against Denver carries additional meaning because the team will be looking to settle its quarterback competition. Would Broncos defensive coordinator Mike Nolan go out of his way to fluster Alex Smith? Maiocco: "When the 49ers played the Packers early in the exhibition season last year, there was some talk around the league that the 49ers did more defensive game-planning than what's usually expected in one of those games. The conspiracy theorists reasoned that Nolan and the 49ers wanted to go to great lengths to ensure Rodgers did not come to Candlestick and have a good day as the Packers' starter."

Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle says a local politician is trying to exempt the 49ers from seeking competitive bids in building a stadium. Said a spokesman for the politician: "We don't want to take the chance of losing the 49ers."

David Fucillo of Niners Nation takes a shot at predicting the 49ers' 53-man roster heading into the 2009 season. He gives them six receivers and three quarterbacks, with Nate Davis beating out Damon Huard. Keeping Huard on the opening-day roster would guarantee his 2009 salary.

3k of Turf Show Times isn't opposed to the Rams giving players second chances. 3k: "This is the difference between Fakhir Brown and Claude Wroten, people who have made mistakes and people who have made mistakes part of their lifestyles. ... People who make mistakes deserve a second chance, deserve a shot at redemption. People who squander those second chances ... don't deserve the same breaks as those have yet to receive them."

Cedric Golden of the Austin American-Statesman says the NFL's scare tactics at its rookie symposium didn't affect Rams rookie Jason Smith as much as a speech from Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Smith: "When a person like him is speaking about a place I'm trying to go [winning a Super Bowl], I take it very personally and if he tells me to jump, I'm going to jump."