Around the NFC West: Defense wins practice

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers says the 49ers' defense was spectacular in practice today. Coach Mike Nolan even stopped practice to congratulate the defense. Once a defensive-minded coach, always a defensive-minded coach. In Seattle, Mike Holmgren tends to stew when the defense has its way during practice. Once an offensive-minded coach, always an offensive-minded coach.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee provides equal time in his dispatch from 49ers practice, noting the offense was pretty much horrendous. Barrows: "I was here when the quarterbacks were Rattay, Dorsey and Pickett. I was here when the 49ers won only two games. In other words, I've seen some pretty putrid practices. But I gotta tell you -- I'm having a hard time remembering an offensive performance as lousy as the one I saw this morning."

Steve Korte of Ramblings lists positives and negatives from the Rams' performance against Tennessee in the exhibition opener. He notes, correctly, that the first-team offense hasn't scored a touchdown during the exhibition season since Mike Martz was coach. These exhibition games can be meaningless, but I'm thinking Scott Linehan doesn't want to keep hearing about that streak.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic doesn't ride a Segway around Northern Arizona University when the Cardinals are at camp, but a few players do. Kurt Warner, Matt Leinart and Larry Fitzgerald were seen riding them today.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer delivers more potentially bad news on the injury front for Seattle. Center Chris Spencer was supposed to practice this week, but his bad back is still a problem. Spencer can't even reach down to tie his shoes. An admittedly premature thought: What if Steve Vallos grabbed hold of the center job and never let go? Vallos outperformed expectations in the exhibition opener. We can't know if he'll become viable as a long-term starter. But as Ron Heller told former Seahawks guard Chris Gray, the fastest way out of the league is via injury.

Seahawks president and emerging blogger Tim Ruskell ponders the likelihood of converting two exhibition games into regular-season games. Ruskell: "More people are talking about it. There are pros and cons for either side. It's already a long season. It will be an interesting debate. I haven't really made my mind up, nor have I heard how really serious this is just yet. It will be a pretty dramatic change the way we've done business if that does happen. We'd be in trouble this year if that were the case because we'd be going into regular season games missing a lot of players."