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Around the NFC West: QB's silent treatment

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Matt Hasselbeck played coy before revealing the truth about his pregame routine. Hasselbeck: "OK, typically what I do is I’ll have noise-cancellation headphones on. But it’s not plugged into anything. I just don’t want to hear people, or their music. I just need silence; focus. Otherwise people want to talk to you. So I wear headphones with no music. Just leave me alone. ... I just tuck (the cord) into my shorts or my pocket." Sort of like pretending you're on the phone to avoid having to speak with someone. Not that I've done anything along those lines.

Also from Farnsworth: Russell Okung worked at left tackle for Seattle again, with Tyler Polumbus moving to the right side while Sean Locklear rested a sore knee. I could see Polumbus staying at right tackle because Locklear is not yet established there in the Seahawks' eyes (the team already reduced his salary and wiped out remaining years on his deal).

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times revisits Leon Washington's high school days and finds out the Seattle kick returner once scored a 99-yard touchdown as a punter, not as a returner. Not bad.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks added pass-rusher Chris Clemons to their injury report.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic looks at LaRod Stephens-Howling and the impact kickoff returns for touchdowns can have on a game. A stat Stephens-Howling will not want to discuss come contract time: "According to Footballoutsiders.com, teams that returned a kickoff for a touchdown were only 33-43 from 2005 through 2009."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals' 2-1 record is helping receiver Larry Fitzgerald work through some personal frustrations. Fitzgerald's numbers through two games were similar to or better than the ones he posted through two games last season, but a two-catch outing against Oakland in Week 3 did not go over well. Fitzgerald: "I just want to double my catch performance from Sunday and I’ll be a happy man. If I can just get four, I’ll be … We are 2-1 and that’s what it is all about. If we were 0-3, I might pull my hair out but I’m good right now."

Also from Urban: He breaks down Stephens-Howling's kickoff return for a touchdown against Oakland.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams running back Steven Jackson. Kenneth Darby would likely get most of the carries if Jackson's groin injury prevents him from playing. Keith Toston would get some carries, too.

Also from Thomas: Migraines continue to sideline Clifton Ryan. I spoke with Ryan in the Rams' locker room one day after the team's Week 1 game against Arizona. He seemed fine. The migraines became a problem later in the week and Ryan has not played since the opener.

More from Thomas: The Rams hope corporate sponsors can help them avoid a local television blackout Sunday.

More yet from Thomas: Safety Craig Dahl should be able to return Sunday. He suffered a concussion at Oakland during a violent collision that rocked his head. I saw the collision clearly from the pressbox and knew immediately Dahl would be hurting. His head rocked as though hit by a punch he never saw coming.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have not joined the list of teams leaning on more than one running back when all are healthy. That is because they have an elite back. Teams with elite backs have no incentive to put someone else in the game. The 49ers have faced similar circumstances with Frank Gore. When's a good time to take your best player off the field? Rams general manager Billy Devaney: "We've got one of the best backs, if not the best back, in the NFL ... that loves staying on the field. It's hard to get the guy off the field. When he's playing, he wants the ball. ... That's not a knock on Darby or Toston, either. We don't view it as that, that we have one back and we don't have any other back on the roster."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says Darby is ready to carry more of the load. The Rams had surprising success running the ball after Jackson left the game against Washington. They stuck with the run and it worked.

Also from Wagoner: The Rams brace for the Seahawks' improved return units.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Johnson has been called upon in relief previously. He took over play calling under Wade Phillips with the Falcons after the team fired Dan Reeves. Johnson: "He asked me to call the plays for the last two weeks. I had go in there on Monday and come together with staff and go into Tampa and play against a very good defense. We had Michael Vick at quarterback, and the one stipulation I had was, 'Don't run him.' So go play a football game with Michael Vick and don't let him run."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Vick finished with his highest passer ratings of the season when Johnson took over. Johnson on the perception that Alex Smith has missed high: "Maybe one high pass, but a couple of tipped balls have been situations where we've got a guy rushing and he's backed off and batted a ball and things like that. But I think for a quarterback, you have to find throwing lanes. That's why Doug Flutie could be 5-9 and be an effective passer. Because you don't throw over defensive linemen. You throw through throwing lanes. And that's where we do our fundamental football drills and we slide and we reset and we do certain things that we get him to the proper throwing lanes so the balls don't get tipped ... But I don't think the tipped balls or balls sailing on him have been problems."

Also from Barrows: Eric Heitmann's return would give the 49ers additional options on the offensive line.

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat looks at Smith's passer ratings when throwing to various targets. The number for Michael Crabtree: 6.6. That will obviously improve over the course of the season.

Also from Branch: The 49ers will adjust how they get the ball to Vernon Davis after opponents have taken away the seam route. Little-known fact: Davis is on pace for a career-high 80 receptions. He hasn't found the end zone yet, however.

More from Branch: Johnson wasn't sure whether he would call plays from the sideline or the coaches' booth.

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers will not make wholesale changes on offense.

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle takes a closer look at Johnson. White: "Take one look at Johnson's life story, and this task may be the easiest of his career. He played quarterback for three colleges and three pro leagues. When none of that stuck, (Mike) Riley made an Oregon State assistant coach out of his former quarterback in 1997. Riley brought him to his Chargers staff in 2000, knowing Johnson would get further coaching than he ever did playing."