Behind Enemy Lines - NFC West Rival News

Offseason camps and conditioning have begun, teams are settling in for the next round of Free Agent signings, and Pat Tillman is remembered publicly in a touching memorial.

Arizona - The Cardinals mourned one of their own on Saturday, May 8th, in Tempe. About 5,000 fans attended a memorial for former safety Pat Tillman, including Tillman's widow Maria, his parents and many former teammates and coaches.

Former Cardinals head coach Dave McGinnis, now a defensive coach with the Tennessee Titans, was the final speaker and he spoke eloquently while choking back tears several times.

"These types of noble acts by men of Pat Tillman's stature,” he said, “are going to reverberate for a long, long time…don’t look with your eyes, look with your heart. That lump you feel in your throat, that’s Pat. Those tears in your eyes – that’s Pat. It is our duty to keep his spirit alive in our world.”

As for news on the field, don't look for Cards head coach Dennis Green to pursue Rams QB Kurt Warner or former Giant QB Kerry Collins. Green believes in QB Josh McCown and has decided to spend his valuable free agent money on surrounding his young signal-caller with weapons.

San Francisco - Niners coaches got some bad news on Friday, when they learned that projected starting QB Tim Rattay suffered a tear in his groin and will miss "significant time" according to head coach Dennis Erickson. Without being able to participate in conditioning drills or any of the offseason mini-camps, Rattay's injury could force second-year QB Ken Dorsey into the starting lineup. Dorsey has bulked up to 215 lbs, has good mobility and makes good decisions with the ball. However, the youngster from Miami has not played a single down in an NFL game and teams will likely come after him with a vengeance.

One of the nice surprises of mini-camp was the great hands and smooth route-running of second round pick WR Rashaun Woods. If he picks up the offense quickly, he could be starting from week one. Opposite Woods is second-year wideout Brandon Lloyd who played well as the third receiver in 2003. Lloyd lacks big-time speed but he is quick out of his cuts and he has great hands. Lloyd may be better suited as a third receiver and Woods is more suited to play in the second spot, but for 2004 at least, these two youngsters are the likely starters.

Niners coaches were impressed with their team’s performance at the recent mini-camp, but as Erickson pointed out Sunday at the camp's conclusion, “We won’t really know what we have until we put on the pads. When you’re in underwear, it’s hard to tell here.”

St. Louis - The signing of QB Marc Bulger to a four-year, $19 million contract, including a $9 million signing bonus, means that QB Kurt Warner is likely gone after June 1st. Head coach Mike Martz will offer Warner a reduced salary and the backup job, but Warner is expected to look for suitors who can offer him a starting spot.

Since the Giants released 2003 starting QB Kerry Collins last week, Warner is expected to draw heavy interest from the G-Men. Warner would start while rookie first-rounder Eli Manning gets his feet wet. The Giants do not lack for playmakers on offense so it could be an ideal situation for Warner to move into, while proving to the rest of the league that he still has starting ability.

Second-year DT Jimmy Kennedy has missed several workouts over the last few weeks due to tendonitis in his knee. Kennedy has been a diligent participant in the team's offseason program and has significantly increased his upper-body strength and his conditioning. Martz is hopeful that Kennedy will be able to participate in the team's mandatory full-squad mini-camp May 21st - 23rd.

.NET Reporter Scott Eklund writes "Behind Enemy Lines" every week. Feel free to contact him at sctthawk@yahoo.com.

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