NFC Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks


49ers HC Kyle Shanahan said it won’t be too difficult to decide when QB Trey Lance is ready to take over as a starter over QB Jimmy Garoppolo.

“It’s not been as hard as you think,” Shanahan said, via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “In this business, if you’re trying to plan out the next six months and say, ‘Where’s it going?’ that’s a mistake. You can’t do it. What I told Jimmy right when we made the trade is, ‘I don’t know any rookie who can come and beat you out if you’re playing at his best self. I didn’t necessarily think he was there last year at training camp. Then he had the injuries and stuff. But right now I see him playing well out here. If he can continue to go that way, that’s great for Trey. That’s great for our team. Then Trey can wait till he’s at his best self, which doesn’t happen overnight.”

Shanahan added it’s important for Lance to look good in practice for his teammates.

“That observation is accurate,” Shanahan said. “We’re on the practice field now and you’re a first-round pick so everyone’s looking at you. Your new team wants to see your talent level, which he has, but they also want to see how he carries himself. I think that’s what they’ve been impressed with. He doesn’t know everything yet. He’s still trying. This was his eighth practice since he’s been here, including OTAs.

“But Deebo Samuel comes up to me at one point, and he’s like, ‘This guy’s got some balls.’ And I think that’s what the guys feel. He goes out there and he’s not scared to fail. He goes out there and lets it rip, and there’s some good, some bad. Players can feel it. When you’re not scared to fail and you’re talented, you do things the right way, guys believe it’s a matter of time.”

  • Shanahan highlighted WR Jalen Hurd as a potential X-factor on offense for the 49ers if he can stay healthy: “Great X-factor. Honestly, he’s probably mine on this team too. He’s got to stay healthy so he can be a big factor here. You get your heart broken and you get frustrated because you know how great he’d be in the offense. But he’s just as frustrated. It’d be a hell of bonus to have him.”
  • Shanahan said LB Azeez Al-Shaair has a knee injury, but the team isn’t concerned. (Matt Maiocco)


The pads haven’t come on yet at Rams training camp, but new QB Matthew Stafford is already turning heads. Stafford has been as good as advertised, zipping the ball all over the field and wowing teammates with his ability to get through his progressions under pressure to find the open receiver. 

“When you really study him,” Rams HC Sean McVay said via NBC Sports’ Peter King, “you see the intricacies of quarterback position. He’s playing it at the highest level in the most difficult spots. You’re getting rushed. His ability to navigate the pocket, his movement, his feel for the rush, his ability to keep his eyes down the field. And then to exhaust your progression against that rush, that’s something in the NFL that a quarterback just has to do, and you see him progress to second, third, fourth, maybe even the fifth option, is real. It’s important.”

  • The Rams are also breaking in a new center, moving Austin Corbett over from guard. McVay was optimistic with a pair of significant caveats: “I think if Corbett can handle the mental part — which is tough in our offense — and if he gets comfortable with the consistent accuracy on the shotgun snaps, I think you’re going to be talking him as one of the better centers in this league. Very quickly.” 


  • Per ESPN’s Brady Henderson, Seahawks OLB Aldon Smith believes he still has “a lot left in the tank” as a football player: “Every day I just try to get better, and as long as I keep that mentality and keep learning and keep developing, the sky is still the limit for me.”
  • Seahawks HC Pete Carroll says the team is going to support Smith as he deals with a pending legal issue and Louisiana and works to make the team: “I want him to succeed at this in the worst way, and I want him to come through and do what he needs to do, so we’re going to give him every opportunity. The level of communication is very clear and he’s been very open with us, and he’s told us when things were harder than others and he’s been upfront in that regard and that’s helped us understand and believe and trust that he’s working at it, and that it isn’t easy and it’s a lifelong commitment that he has to make.”
  • Carroll mentioned said S Marquise Blair missed practice with a heel injury, but it isn’t serious. (Curtis Crabtree)
  • Carroll added he is looking forward to seeing what DT Robert Nkemdiche can do: “He’s off to a fantastic start. I’m really excited about what he brings.” (Crabtree)
  • Seahawks OL Cedric Ogbuehi said the offense is noticeably more up-tempo this year: “Yeah for sure. I think it’s just part of the scheme, and we like it. And it’s good also for us to run fast and keep getting in shape.” (Bob Condotta)

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