Behind Enemy Lines – Preseason games begin

Now that every team has completed at least one preseason contest, coaches and players head in to week number two with some players on the bubble and some making good impressions. .NET reporter Scott Eklund takes a look at week one of the preseason.

St. Louis – Head coach Mike Martz was happy with the production of his first and second units in their first exhibition game, a 13-10 loss to the Chicago Bears.

A big worry for Martz was the fact that his offensive line was missing its two best players in LT Orlando Pace and RT Kyle Turley. Pace is still holding out after being tagged with the franchise designation and Turley is still nursing a herniated disk that has kept him from practicing since August 1st. Also, OG Adam Timmerman was nursing a stinger that caused numbness in his neck and shoulder in recent days.

The game was a sloppily played contest with 31 penalties for 240 yards between the two teams, but Martz was able to look at the bright side.

"All in all, I was very pleased, particularly in the first half with both groups," Martz said.

MLB Robert Thomas is starting to make a move to become a leader on the defensive unit. He played well, according to Martz, in the preseason game and he was all over the field even though his stats only show one tackle.

"I think that the leadership on the field, the calls… everything was impeccable," Martz said of Thomas. "There wasn't any wasted motion. I think he was probably the best performance of the entire team."

The Rams have less than one week left before they break camp in Macomb, Il., before heading back to St. Louis to finish out their preseason workouts.

Next Preseason Game: @ Kansas City on August 23rd

Arizona – Head coach Dennis Green was not too happy with the performance of his team following a 23-6 thumping at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings.

The only unit that Green heaped any praise on was his special teams, which accounted for all of the Cardinals' points.

"I thought special teams played very hard as far as hustling and getting up and down the field and doing a good job of hitting," said Green. "Defense was very average, and the offense was not very good at all."

Specifically, Green was disappointed with the intensity on offense as the Cardinals amassed only 256 yards (143 through the air) and had nine penalties and two interceptions.

"When we crossed the 40-yardline, we did not have the drive to take it in," observed Green. "We know we've got to improve a great deal. We knew that coming in. That was not a surprise. I think for us to get our program around we are going to have to be very demanding about what we have to do and we'll take it one step at a time."

Rookie WR Larry Fitzgerald saw action and left the game with an ankle injury. On Monday he was wearing a boot to protect the foot and Green plans to hold him out of drills and the upcoming preseason game against the San Diego Chargers.

"I knew it was just a sprain," said Fitzgerald. "I sprained it before playing basketball back in 8th grade or something. It is definitely hard to be out here watching. It is like being an outsider a little bit when you are watching practice and not able to participate. That makes you want to get back out there even more."

Look for the team to be more aggressive on both sides of the ball as preseason continues.

Next Preseason Game: vs. San Diego on August 21st

San Francisco – Two youngsters impressed head coach Dennis Erickson in the 49ers' first preseason game, a 33-30 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

Rookie QB Cody Pickett remained calm under fire, something he got used to at the University of Washington, and completed 5 of 7 passes for 89 yards and a 21-yard touchdown.

Second-year WR Arnaz Battle, who is trying to win the punt-return duties, made two nifty cuts and then broke two tackles en route to a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Starting QB Ken Dorsey was methodical in the little playing time he got and he continues to make good decisions by completing 8 of 12 passes for 112 yards, no TDs and no INTs.

"It was a lot faster," Dorsey said. "It's definitely hard to see out there. In order to get a feel for it, I had to get the guys the ball as best I could."

Erickson was not happy with his red-zone offense lamenting two drives the ended inside the Raider 10 yard line.

"We've got to be able to finish," Erickson said. "We've got to be able to get touchdowns instead of field goals."

The Niners got some good news on Monday when they learned that standout FB Fred Beasley will be lost for only three weeks and not the season with a high ankle sprain. When Beasley went down it appeared to be a lot worse than it really was.

Look for the team to sign another fullback this week as they want a full backfield for the rest of the preseason.

Next Preseason Game: @ Chicago on August 21st

.NET Reporter Scott Eklund writes for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to contact him at sctthawk@yahoo.com.

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