NFC West Training Camp Update

As training camps progress, the St. Louis Rams battling injury issues along the offensive look to reclaim their dominance.

In Seattle, the coaching staff is beginning to see what some within the organization expected. Backup running back Maurice Morris is outplaying starter Shaun Alexander and could push the team to take a longer look at the speedy running back. Rookie defensive back Ken Hamlin has stepped in to replace injured veteran Damien Robinson at safety and rookie cornerback Marcus Trufant has been inconsistent the past couple days against receivers Koren Robinson and Darrell Jackson, but has show the coaching staff that he is quick to pickup on the tendencies of receivers. For the first-time since becoming a Seattle Seahawks player, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is comfortable and has the backing of the all offensive coaches. With left tackle conducting his annual 'holdout of training camp tour' the battle has heated up amongst the players that are in camp. Rookie Wayne Hunter has been impressive thus far and the coaching staff will continue to give him significant time at the left tackle position, in the absence of Jones........In San Francisco, new head coach Dennis Erickson has a grasp on his team. The battle at the starting running back spot is ongoing, but Kevan Barlow is seriously pushing veteran Garrison Hearst and if Barlow can become consistent in the blocking aspects expected from the running back, he could unseat Hearst. The team is attempting to be cautious with starting center Jeremy Newbury as he experienced chronic pain last season and the team wants to keep him fresh and healthy heading into the 2003 season. Wide receivers Terrell Owens and Tai Streets have expressed their pleasure with the attacking, downfield passing game that Erickson has installed in the revised 49ers offense. Two players from the team's 2003 rookie class are making quite an impression in the early days of training camp, they are quarterback Ken Dorsey and offensive lineman Kwame Harris. In the case of Harris, he has lined up at both the tackle and guard spots, showing mobility, consistency, and a mean streak that has become contagious in camp, indications coming from the coaching staff are that Harris is working his way into considerable playing time immediately. With Dorsey, he has had a solid training camp and indications at this are that Dorsey is the favorite to hold down the 49ers third-string quarterback roster position..........In Arizona, the competition between the wide receivers has been steady and consistent. Due top a lack of experience and without a leader at the position, the team is banking on the veteran presence of quarterback Jeff Blake and Emmitt Smith to compensate for the lack of experience. To this point in training camp, the young Cardinals have taken to Blake and Smith, which the coaching staff thought would be beneficial to the team when the two veteran players were signed as free agents in the off-season. Rookie wide receiver Bryant Johnson has been inconsistent at the receiver position, but has shown explosive tendencies in the return game. 2002 first-round draft choice, Wendell Bryant has been having a solid training camp, showing the explosion and strength the team anticipated when the team selected him last year.......... In St. Louis, the Rams have the look of a team that is dedicated to rebound from a disappointing 7-9 record of a season ago. Quarterback Kurt Warner is healthy and has performed tremendously in training camp to this point. Indications from the coaching staff are that Warner is back to his 2000 season form. Injuries have taken their toll on the Rams' offensive line in training camp as the team attempts to reinforce the support troops for Warner, Marshall Faulk and company. With the holdout of starting tackle Orlando Pace, he left tackle position continues to be an issue for the team. Grant Williams was lining up in Pace's spot, only to go down with a back injury, next up was John St. Clair, who has performed surprisingly well, but not the long-term answer according to our discussions with the team. If the Pace holdout continues into the season, moving Kyle Turley to the left-side is not out of the question. 

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