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Around the NFC West: Rams' WR options

10/12/2010

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams plan to sign Danario Alexander from their practice squad after losing Mark Clayton to a season-ending knee injury. Thomas: "Clayton is the third Rams wideout to go on injured reserve this season, joining Donnie Avery and undrafted rookie Dominique Curry -- both of whom also suffered season-ending knee injuries. Quarterback Sam Bradford quickly developed a chemistry with Clayton and Danny Amendola. Now that Clayton is out of the mix, some combination of Brandon Gibson, Mardy Gilyard and Laurent Robinson must step to the forefront." Trading for a receiver would probably mean parting with valuable draft capital, something the Rams probably should avoid. Their offensive scheme does not require elite talent at the receiver position. The scheme is similar to the one Mike Holmgren ran in Green Bay and Seattle. The Packers and Seahawks had some good receivers during those years, but the system succeeded without great ones.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are saying their 44-6 defeat at Detroit will not shake them. Coach Steve Spagnuolo: "I might be way off, but I don't think this team will do that. The mind-set of this team … I don't know, I like it. I like the look in their eye, I like the way they work."

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Cardinals lead the NFC West in part because they've been able to move on from poor performances, something the Rams must now show they can do. Miklasz had this to say about the halfback pass the Lions called while leading the Rams by 28 points in the fourth quarter: "So, Scott Linehan called a halfback option pass with the Lions up by a bunch of points? Isn't that cute. Good for Scott. He's the man! What did it change exactly? Nothing. He's still among the five or 10 worst head coaches in NFL history. And no NFL team will ever entrust him to run a team again. That said: Linehan (seriously) called a masterful game. He found every weakness in the Rams defense. I can't take that away from him."

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says TV ratings took a hit during the Rams' blowout defeat.

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says left guard Jacob Bell might not have a concussion, as had been feared.

Also from Wagoner: Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis downplays the Rams' blowout defeat to the Lions. Laurinaitis: "I don’t think it’s a setback. I am not going to go down that road at all. I think this team is better than the way we played. ... We will look at it and correct it. That’s all we can really do."

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says the Rams' defeat Sunday was their third-worst since moving to St. Louis. The Lions outscored the Rams 21-3 and 20-0 in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle checks in with 49ers president Jed York, who says he thinks the team can still make a Super Bowl run.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says York stands by his statement that the team will win the NFC West despite an 0-5 start. York: "I think more than anything, we are a good football team, but we just have to play a little more relaxed." The head coach sets the tone on that front.

Also from Maiocco: the cases for and against firing Mike Singletary.

More from Maiocco: Alex Smith thinks he needs to be more aggressive.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Smith is basically agreeing with what Steve Young said about the quarterback. Barrows: "There are times out there that I know I play too cautious, and I think that's when I find myself making those mistakes. It's funny -- it's counterproductive. You'd think playing cautious will lead the other way. ... I think you see times when I cut it loose and play more fearlessly, and I think the results have always been better." Players tend to cut it loose when the stakes are lower. For Smith, that time often comes after the 49ers fall behind. The 49ers need him to play better earlier in games.

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Singletary thinks Smith plays well until he begins pressing. Branch: "Smith, who was booed incessantly by the Candlestick Park crowd, fought to stay in the game and nearly led the Niners to an improbable rally. On the 49ers' last three drives, he completed 12 of 16 passes for 123 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. With a chance to send the game into overtime, Smith, who was hit as he threw, fluttered a game-sealing interception on third-and-10 from the Eagles 44 with 36 seconds left."

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat describes York, Singletary and Smith as the 49ers' triangle of failure.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says this about the 49ers' quarterback situation: "When Singletary pulled J.T. O’Sullivan for Shaun Hill in his first game as interim coach in 2008, he never went back to JTO. When he pulled Hill for Smith midway through 2009, he never went back to Hill. Both former starters were dispatched at the end of those seasons. Which is an interesting way to look at it: The last two QBs to start the season for the 49ers… were ex-49ers by the end of those seasons. Smith started this season. Hmm."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Seattle's opponent in Week 6, Chicago, has contained some formidable running backs. Marshawn Lynch makes his Seahawks debut at Soldier Field.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Deion Branch had become somewhat redundant within the Seahawks' offense. O'Neil: "Branch was heavily involved in Seattle's offense, but the acquisition of Brandon Stokley gives the Seahawks a capable slot receiver, and Golden Tate and Deon Butler will undoubtedly get more opportunities. Mike Williams remains the starter at split end. He has caught 11 passes through four games despite playing through a thigh bruise and later a shoulder injury. Williams said Monday this is the first week since the season began that he really feels good."

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says Branch's career in Seattle never worked out as planned. Johns: "Even his best moment this season turned sour at the last second when he pulled in a 41-yard catch and appeared headed for a touchdown until the ball was knocked away at the goal line and resulted in a touchback against the Chargers."

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks have a 5-16 record since 1990 in games immediately following bye weeks, with only two week-after-bye victories since 1998. The team has played 15 of its last 21 post-bye games on the road. The trend continues this season.

John Morgan of Field Gulls sizes up the Seahawks' defensive line after four games.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals cut down on their mistakes after a shaky first half against New Orleans.

Also from McManaman: Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt says the team's victory over the Saints was the type that can bring together a team.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic offers notes from Whisenhunt's news conference, including one about the team avoiding significant injuries against the Saints. Also: "LB Gerald Hayes is eligible to start practicing next Monday. Hayes has been running and conditioning, and the Cardinals will take a look at where he is physically. If he's fine, they will work him in some sort of role for the Seattle game. Hayes could play snaps at the strong inside spot, with Paris Lenon moving to the weak. Hayes' return also allows Lenon to take some snaps off. As Whisenhunt noted, Lenon has played a ton already. Hayes' return also would allow the Cardinals to use Daryl Washington situationally."

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says Max Hall is a better story than he is a quarterback at this point. Bickley: "Ultimately, swagger can go only so far, and Hall must prove he can make plays and protect the football. But he's a great story, and clearly he possesses the requisite toughness. After watching film of Sunday's game, Whisenhunt still was shaking his head over the hit his quarterback endured near the goal line. The collision jarred Hall's helmet loose, and for one horrifying moment, viewers wondered if the poor kid had been decapitated."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Arizona became the second team in league history to reach 30 points without scoring a touchdown rushing or passing.

Also from Urban: Whisenhunt is happy to be 3-2 without playing all that well. Whisenhunt: "To think we have not played really good football and we’re at 3-2 is a really good sign because if we can continue to improve, we have a chance to be a really good football team."