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NFC West Training Camp Preview: 3 things to watch

Around The League's Training Camp Preview series will identify three things to watch for the teams in each division this summer. Next up is the NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals


1. All eyes will be on Tyrann Mathieu, who was a legitimate Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate before shredding his knee in December. All reports to date suggest the "Honey Badger" is ahead of schedule in his rehab, but the Cardinals won't rush him back into action.

2. Is former Pittsburg State star John Brown the next T.Y. Hilton? The speedy wide receiver drew as much offseason hype as any rookie in the league, suggesting he could be fast-tracked even with the addition of veteran Ted Ginn.

3. Is there reason for hope on the offensive line after two seasons as the least effective unit in the NFL? Jared Veldheer and Jonathan Cooper will solidify Carson Palmer's blindside, but right tackle and right guard remain up in the air entering camp.

San Francisco 49ers


1. All-Pro pass rusher Aldon Smith escaped serious legal trouble for three felony charges, but the NFL might not be so lenient. A suspension is looming and likely will be announced in August.

2. Vernon Davis skipped offseason workouts while keeping a close eye on Jimmy Graham's new contract with the Saints. Davis has said it's "not the end of the world" if he doesn't get a new mega deal of his own, but there's no telling if he will report to camp on time.

3. Marcus Lattimore's comeback from a pair of gruesome knee injuries ratcheted up a notch in offseason practices. Will we finally see signs of the pre-injury Lattimore in training camp?

Seattle Seahawks


1. Marshawn Lynch arrived for mandatory minicamp in mid-June, but that doesn't mean we've heard the last of his contract squabble. "Beast Mode" is no lock to report for training camp, even with Christine Michael coming like a freight train behind him.

2. After drafting playmakers Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood in May, the Seahawks suddenly boast a crowded wide receiver corps. Sidney Rice will have to prove he's fully recovered from ACL surgery to make the final roster.

3. Although the Seahawks lost several key contributors from their Super Bowl run, they have a handful of young players ready to step into the rotation on defense. Keep an eye on linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis and Korey Toomer, cornerback Tharold Simon, defensive end Greg Scruggs and defensive tackle Jesse Williams and Jordan Hill.

St. Louis Rams


1. Coach Jeff Fisher has "no doubt whatsoever" that Sam Bradford will be ready for Week 1 following November surgery to repair his ACL. After watching Robert Griffin III mightily struggle in his own return last season, Rams fans will be keeping a close eye on Bradford's movement in the pocket.

2. Is Zac Stacy truly competing to keep his starting job? The Rams have stated as much, but the second-year back remains the heavy favorite after averaging more than 20 carries per start as a rookie. Tre Mason is a good bet to siphon 8-10 touches per game as the change-of-pace option.

3. Is Kenny Britt's offseason resurgence legit? Teammates and coaches have raved about his practice performances, which is surprising because he hasn't separated from coverage since undergoing multiple knee surgeries over the past few seasons. Britt can be Bradford's No. 1 target if his speed and cutting ability are finally back to 2010 levels.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" invites Bucky Brooks in-studio for a team-by-team AFC training camp preview.

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