Major League Baseball | National Football League | St. Louis Cardinals

Rapid Reactions to the Weekend in Sports

Even though it’s the Hall of Fame Game and we don’t see anybody’s No. 1 units for any period of time, it was great to see the NFL back with Dallas and Miami battling in Canton. … If ever there was a definitive “camp arm” for an NFL team, it’s Tim Jenkins. The Rams signed him out of Fort Lewis, and he’s getting a chance to live his dream by playing in an NFL training camp. But we’ve seen “camp arms” like Kurt Warner, Marc Bulger and Austin Davis here in St. Louis, and so far in practice, Jenkins doesn’t look like a guy who will live up to making enough of an impression to make a team.

Speaking of quarterbacks making an impression, I hope if Blaine Gabbert doesn’t make Jacksonville’s roster that he gets an opportunity to sit and learn behind someone. There are several spots that would be great fits for a guy like Gabbert. He could replace Chase Daniel in New Orleans and learn from Drew Brees and Sean Payton. Gabbert’s skill set is better than Tyrod Taylor’s or Caleb Hanie’s in Baltimore, and working under Jim Caldwell and behind Joe Flacco would be great with the Ravens. And Gabbert would be a better gamble as a backup for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay than Graham Harrell. I like Gabbert’s skills. I think he should have stayed at Mizzou for another year, but I think sitting and learning in the right system with the right people can make him a serviceable NFL quarterback.

Want to know the reason I didn’t – and won’t – panic during the Cardinals‘ struggles of the last 10 days? It’s because of two reasons: There’s still almost two months left in the season, and they’re good. If I were convinced that the Cards had been a fluke and that falling behind in the division was a death knell, I’d say so. But with 52 games left and a 1 ½-game deficit, this team has plenty of horsepower to win the division. And even if they don’t, even if they are a wild-card team, can any team ask for more than to have one game to extend their season? Having your destiny in your own hands is a wonderful thing.

Did you like Rams safety Rashard Hall at Saturday’s scrimmage? I was impressed. … Jeff Fisher says they have to run better in the red zone, so it was interesting to see Joe Barksdale line up at tight end in goal-line situations. That guy can block. … I like Ty Nsekhe. He’s an interesting prospect. I honestly don’t know if he can play, but his size and athleticism are intriguing. … Brian Baldinger of FOX and the NFL Network joined us last week, and said during a break that Tavon Austin is the fastest football player he’s ever seen.

All of a sudden, Matt Holliday is hitting .278 and his OPS is up to .808, which is a big improvement over his pre-All-Star break numbers, but well off his career .310 and .915. … As brutal as the Cardinals were offensively for a week, they still have almost 30 more runs than the team with the second-most in the NL. Averaging 11 a game for four straight will help in that regard. The offensive consistency still isn’t what it needs to be.

If the report about Johnny Manziel signing autographs for money last January is true, it’s one of the stupidest things a college athlete as ever done. In a long story about Manziel last week, ESPN the Magazine revealed that Manziel’s family is part of a Texas oil fortune. He has everything he could ever want. Why he would sign for a five-figure sum in almost incomprehensible, unless he’s incomprehensibly stupid.

I have a ton of caps, and my goal as we broadcast “The Fast Lane” during camp at Rams Park is to wear a different one every day. So far, I haven’t had any duplications. If I remember, I won’t have any problems at all.

I like the Blues’ signing of Jay Bouwmeester. Having players under cost control makes them valuable for the team that has them, and for teams that would want to trade for them. … If the Blues do sign Alex Pietrangelo, they may set a record for letters in names of a unit in the league. Bouwmeester, Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk are some long surnames.

It’s interesting to read how badly Dolphins left tackle Jonathan Martin is playing in camp. Miami could have easily kept Jake Long, but elected not to. The second-most important position in football now, after quarterback, is left tackle.

I can’t wait to see how Alex Rodriguez is received while playing during the appeal of his suspension. This might wind up being the most hated player in MLB history.

Looking forward to seeing Yasiel Puig play in person this week, if he’s healthy. I’m a big fan of manias, and Puig-mania is a good one.