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NFC Whispers

No serious competition for Cardinals' Porter

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Posted Sept. 05, 2011 @ 2:07 a.m. ET
By PFW staff

Updated Sept. 5,  2011 @ 2:07 p.m. ET

• That nobody stepped up to take the Cardinals' starting ROLB job away this preseason from aging Joey Porter, who was widely considered to be on shaky ground a month ago, is cause for concern in the desert. To his credit, Porter had a strong preseason. But we hear the team was really hoping for a lot more serious competition for starting OLB roles from the likes of O'Brien Schofield, rookie Sam Acho and Will Davis, who was released late Friday.

• The Eagles remain fully behind PK Alex Henery, even though the rookie has been up and down this preseason. They have little other choice, after spending a fourth-round pick on Henery and releasing all-time franchise scoring leader David Akers. The staff feels Henery will come around without issue.

• The Giants have not given up on rookie Jerrel Jernigan as their punt returner, but his case of the muffs has them considering other options, including Aaron Ross, early in the season. You can expect the Giants to give Jernigan another chance, though.

• The Giants had no intention of hiding RB Da'Rel Scott and figured the cat was out of the bag with other teams, anyway, after his standout preseason performance. His speed gives the team another dimension on offense and special teams.

• All signs point to Letroy Guion starting in place of Kevin Williams at the "under" tackle spot for the Vikings for at least the first two games. That's how long Williams will be suspended, but the team feels good with Guion in that spot based on the way he has stepped up after a few nondescript seasons. Rookie Christian Ballard also has put his best foot forward in the preseason and factors in, as well, at that spot.

• Bears SS Chris Harris is in the final year of a two-year contract he signed last April, and he's been mentioned among a group of Bears players who are interested in an extension. It's expected he'll play out the remainder of his deal before there are any serious talks about keeping him in Chicago, though, as the Bears haven't shown interest in entering negotiations with his agent. "My job is just to play football and let the chips fall where they may," Harris told PFW after the Bears' last preseason game. "I don't even get myself worried about (my contract). I want to stay a Chicago Bear. I'd definitely love to be a Chicago Bear and finish my career here, but ultimately I don't make that decision, so I'm not going to sit here and argue or get mad about anything I don't have any control over. You're a fool if you do."

Joe Hawley is expected to cede the Falcons' starting center job to Todd McClure when McClure is healthy enough to play again after undergoing knee surgery. Yet, McClure is in the final year of his contract and will turn 35 in February. This audition for Hawley is a significant one. He's playing to prove the team can rely on him to play a starting role a season from now and doesn't need to explore other options at the position.

• Even though all signs in Seattle still point toward first-round OT James Carpenter being the long-term starting right tackle, word is he could get a serious challenge early on from ex-Packer Breno Giacomini, who has impressive size and had a good camp this offseason. "We never really got to see much of him last year," said one daily team observer of Giacomini. "He certainly is big enough."

• Don't forget about Seahawks WR Deon Butler, who will start the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, becoming a factor in the offense a little bit down the road. "He's coming back quickly from the same leg injury that Leon Washington had and has looked good working out on the side," one daily team observer said of Butler, who was considered by many onlookers to be arguably the team's most improved player last season before going down for the count in December. "But it hasn't been until this offseason that Leon has gotten back his natural explosiveness, and the same recovery time is expected with Butler. They are being real careful with Deon, and it should be beneficial later, since he won't be a complete newcomer."

• It looks like journeyman Richard Bartel is a good bet to be the top backup behind Kevin Kolb at quarterback in Arizona over John Skelton, who was unable to play in the last two preseason games due to a high ankle sprain and is more the victim of bad luck than anything.

• Keep an eye on Niners undrafted rookie DT Demarcus Dobbs, who proved to be a very effective two-gap playmaker this offseason despite being undersized. "There's still a lot of areas where he can improve on, but he's done himself well in this camp and gotten better and better," Niners defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said of Dobbs. "I think it's a testament to his pushing himself and the coaching of (head coach) Jim (Harbaugh) on him, of (defensive line coach Jim) Tomsula, and they've both done a great job."

• Word is the Rams are keeping their fingers crossed that TE Michael Hoomanawanui will be fully recovered from his sprained calf in time for the season opener against the Eagles. Hoomanawanui's continued inability to remain healthy is a problem the Rams would love to overcome.

• While Craig Dahl appears to have retained the Rams' starting SS job over second-year pro Darian Stewart, we hear Stewart is likely to continue breathing down Dahl's neck as the season progresses.

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