NFC Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, J.J. Watt, Seahawks


  • 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan said OT Trent Williams had his knee drained after experiencing some swelling but is expected to be ready for Week 1. (Doug Kyed)
  • Shanahan mentioned that 49ers WR Jalen Hurd is dealing with knee tendinitis and will keep him out of practice over the next week. (Nick Wagoner)
  • Shanahan adds that they are hopeful Hurd will play in the preseason finale on August 29 against the Raiders. 


Cardinals DE J.J. Watt said the Texans’ medical staff had a very conservative approach with his recovery from injuries while in Houston. 

“Every offseason, there has been trainers and doctors telling you, ‘Hey, you have to be conservative here, you have to take it easy here; you can’t do this, you can’t do that; you can only do this, you can only do that,'” Watt said, via Jim Trotter of “It gets to a point where, yes, I can go out there and play, but if I can’t train the way I need to train and practice the way I need to practice, then I’m not going to be the player I need to be.”

Watt said he reverted to former offseason workouts and resumed training with his personal trainer, Brad Arnett. 

“I said to myself, ‘I’m going to go, I’m going to do it. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out, but we’re going to do it,'” Watt said. “I don’t want to go out on the field and be half the player I’m supposed to be or be a conservative version of what I’m supposed to be; I need to be who I’m supposed to be, and if I can’t, I can’t.”

Arnett said he encouraged watt to “attack” his offseason training and wants the veteran to trust himself again. 

“‘You’re not at risk; I want you to attack it,'” said Arnett Watt. “I told him, ‘I’m not going to stand over the top of you and breathe down your neck. You need to start to trust yourself again and realize you’re not broken.'”

  • Regarding Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald‘s future, GM Steve Keim said the receiver will eventually inform them of his plans: “If he wants to play, I know he’ll let us know he wants to play.” (Bob McManaman)
  • As for a possible extension for Cardinals OLB Chandler Jones, Keim said he’s like to have Jones finish his career in Arizona: “He’s a guy I personally would like to see finish as a Cardinal. But you know how this business works. It’s not always that easy.” (McManaman)


Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny‘s biggest challenge as a professional has been staying healthy. Penny finally is ready to return from a severe knee injury that cut short what looked like a breakout in 2019. He adds he cut weight to try and stay on the field, and he feels faster than ever at 223 pounds now. 

“When you go through a big yearlong injury, you start doing a lot of self-reflecting, so that’s what I did,” Penny said via the Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar. “I told myself I needed to change my body type, I needed to be more of a student of the game because I knew I wasn’t going to be as available as I thought I was. But, I thought last year was a big learning curve for me. I got to learn more of the playbook, and more about being a runner.”

Penny will be the primary backup behind starting RB Chris Carson, but Seahawks RB coach Chad Morton is a big fan of backup RB Travis Homer, particularly for his ability as a pass protector. 

“Travis has done such a tremendous job back there,” Morton said. “I think he’s the best protector in the league. I’ve seen all of the guys out there. There are some good ones but not as good as him, not as consistent as him.”

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