Behind Enemy Lines – Preseason Week Two

Bubble players fear "The Turk" as teams get ready for the first cut down of the preseason on August 31st and some unknown players are making some noise within the NFC West.

St. Louis – The Rams are so pleased with rookie DE Tony Hargrove that they are designing ways to get him on the field. Hargrove has a quick first step and defensive coordinator Larry Marmie is intrigued at the prospect of moving him inside on some passing downs.

OLB Tommy Polley, considered a star in the making, was demoted for three days following his inconsistent effort in the Rams' first preseason game against the Chicago Bears. His replacement was veteran Tony Newson who has impressed coaches with his athletic ability during camp.

Polley performed well in practice and soon was running with the first unit. However, Polley's wake-up call was also a message to every veteran on the squad that underachieving will not be tolerated.

RB Marshall Faulk will play this week versus Kansas City but don't expect to see him much.

"He'll play a little bit," said head coach Mike Martz. "We'll play that one by ear. He has worked really hard for 10 days now. He has taken almost every snap with the ones, and he needs to be out there on the grass and run around too."

Martz also spoke about starting QB Marc Bulger and likes what he sees from the three-year veteran.

"He's been in complete control. (He has been) very aware. (He) move the team down the field. I think he's fine. We have just had the one series with him (against Chicago), and that was it."

Next Preseason Game: vs. Washington on August 27th

Arizona – In the AFC, the Miami Dolphins look like a M*A*S*H unit with several players being lost for the season due to injuries. In the NFC, the Cardinals have that distinction, as key players have been felled by injuries throughout the entire camp.

WRs Anquan Boldin, the Cardinals' only proven playmaker, was lost early in camp with torn cartilage in his knee and the team hopes to see him return by late October; Backup RB Marcel Shipp was lost to a dislocated ankle and broken fibula for at least eight weeks; Now DT Kenny King has been lost for the season with a troublesome wrist that needs surgery.

King was having an excellent camp and he was battling rookie DT Darnell Dockett for the starting spot at the "under" tackle position along the front. Now Dockett is the likely opening game starter up front for the Cards.

2003 first-round selection, DE Calvin Pace is in danger of being cut by head coach Dennis Green. Currently the second-year player from Wake Forest is buried behind Bertrand Berry and Kyle Vanden Bosch and the feeling of insiders is that he isn't likely to move up the depth chart anytime soon.

The Cardinals have gotten off to an auspicious start in the preseason losing to Minnesota 23-6 and the lowly San Diego Chargers 38-13. Even though it is preseason Green has still been disappointed with his team's efforts in the first two games.

"I was very disappointed because I think we didn't kick the ball well, we also have not covered very well and I think they're (their opponents) playing much better than we are on special teams," said Green.

The Cardinals starters are likely to play most of the first three quarters as they continue to tune up for the regular season.

Next Preseason Game: vs. Oakland on August 28th

San Francisco – Head coach Dennis Erickson and his defensive staff got some bad news when starting SS Tony Parish's MRI revealed that he had a torn calf muscle. Parish is expected to miss at least the final two weeks of the preseason and hopes to be ready for the start of the regular season.

In some good news for the beleaguered "Franchise by the Bay" starting C Jeremy Newberry and projected starting QB Tim Rattay practiced for the first time in weeks on Monday. Newberry is the veteran pivot-man that will be integral in the cohesion along the line.

Rattay, still recovering from a torn groin-muscle suffered during offseason workouts, will be brought along slowly as current starter Ken Dorsey has been solid so far in their two exhibition games.

One player to keep an eye on as the team gets ready to cut down to the mandatory limit of 53 players is WR/PR Arnaz Battle. The former Notre Dame QB is an excellent punt returner with a quick burst and good open field moves. Battle has also improved as a pass-catcher over the offseason and word out of Niners camp is that he is pushing to see playing time in the slot.

Special teams coach Larry McDuff likes what he has seen from the former Golden Domer. "He has been by far our best special-teams performer, and his kick coverage has been outstanding."

Next Preseason Game: @ Minnesota on August 27th

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

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