Around the NFC West: 49ers giddy about plan

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers wonders if Alex Smith will attempt another pass for the 49ers.

Also from Maiocco: Mike Martz's offensive plan against the Cardinals has the 49ers' offensive players giddy heading into the opener against the "unsuspecting" Arizona defense.

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says he doesn't know whether the 49ers are good, bad or middling. He also doesn't know whether or not Mike Nolan can coach.

Bob Padecky, also of the Press-Democrat, shares stories about former 49ers offensive lineman Larry Allen. The imposing Allen intimidated opponents but froze up when asked to address 9-year-olds about the perils of substance abuse. A fun read.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee confirms Chris Mortensen's report about Smith, the 49ers' backup quarterback, having a fractured shoulder.

Also from Barrows: A Cardinals-49ers scouting report with keys to the game.

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says Smith told the Chronicle his shoulder felt "fine" Thursday. That changed Friday.

Paul Gutierrez of the Sacramento Bee takes a look at J.T. O'Sullivan and other quarterbacks from little-known college football programs. A dozen current NFL starters fit the description.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the time has finally come for O'Sullivan to take the field as the 49ers' starter. But the QB considers this a step, not a culmination.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic takes a closer look at Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner. Larry Fitzgerald: "There is no indecisiveness with him. You know exactly what he wants you to do, and you know if you get that look [from the defense], the ball is going is going to be where he told you it was going to be."

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune quotes Warner as saying the Cardinals' offense is "light years" ahead of where it was early in his Arizona tenure.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times looks at matchups from the Seahawks-Bills game. He expects the Seahawks to remember Marcus Stroud from their 2005 opener at Jacksonville, although none of Seattle's interior offensive linemen started that game.

Also from O'Neil: The Seahawks were 1-4 in the Eastern time zone last season, one reason they failed to clinch home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times describes receiver Nate Burleson as a Seahawks player willing to take risks thanks to a big-play mentality.

Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune says Burleson questioned himself during a rough start with the organization. The Seahawks are counting on Burleson to lead a young group of receivers into Buffalo.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune outlines a few key areas for the Seahawks heading into the regular season. He breaks down the running game, Matt Hasselbeck, tight end John Carlson, the offensive line, the defensive tackles and special teams.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams running back Steven Jackson, who knows it's time to produce after signing a new contract.

Also from Thomas: Rams-related notes heading into the season, including how receiver Keenan Burton draws inspiration from his jersey number.

And this from Thomas: He gives the Rams' pass defense the edge against the Eagles' pass offense.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams running back Antonio Pittman has worked hard to improve. He wanted to earn coaches' and teammates' trust.

Also from the Post-Dispatch: Torry Holt feels great physically heading into his matchup with the Eagles and cornerback Asante Samuel.