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Thursday, March 18, 2010
Around the NFC West: 49ers intrigue

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat quotes sources saying 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan was considering resigning. Maiocco: "McCloughan met Wednesday behind closed doors with the 49ers' upper management at the 49ers' team offices in Santa Clara, sources said. The group included Jed York, executive vice president of football and business operations Paraag Marathe, vice president of football affairs Keena Turner and Michael Rossi, a retired vice chair of BankAmerica Corp., who works as a senior advisor to the 49ers. McCloughan left the 49ers' team offices after the meeting and files were relocated from his office this afternoon." The 49ers did not respond to inquiries, according to Maiocco.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee quotes McCloughan's agent as saying the 49ers' GM does not plan to resign. There's obviously more to this story. Should be an interesting Thursday in Santa Clara.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks' gamble on Charlie Whitehurst resembles the chance they took on Matt Hasselbeck nine years ago. O'Neil: "Time will tell whether the sacrifice was worth it. Nine years ago, Seattle traded away a third-round pick for a quarterback who had never started a regular-season game and had attempted all of 29 passes in that time. Not only that, but Seattle gave that guy a new contract. The deal for Matt Hasselbeck didn't turn out to be so bad in retrospect. Will this one work out as well? We have our first yardstick for the Carroll era." More here.

John Morgan of Field Gulls projects which players the Seahawks might miss out on after moving down 20 spots in the second round.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt offered a stronger endorsement of quarterback Matt Leinart after adding Derek Anderson. Whisenhunt: "Derek will get opportunities, especially with our first unit like we've done in the past. But I'm also excited about Matt and seeing how he handles this situation he's in right now."

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says "circumstances have changed dramatically" for Whisenhunt to install Leinart as the starter. Bickley: "In this case, you want Leinart to believe that he's assuming the torch from a legend, and not struggling to win a starting job. You want him to believe this is a logical succession, that he's Steve Young taking over from Joe Montana. Whether it's true or not is highly irrelevant. All that matters is if Leinart believes. After all, he will dictate whether the Cardinals continue their playoff run in 2010, or slip back into the muck of mediocrity." Leinart still has to earn it on the field, but I also think it's important for the organization to support him in a way that gives Leinart his best chance at success. Whisenhunt seems to have a good feel for such things.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says it was obvious Leinart would be named the starter. Urban: "Whether Anderson -– who had three touchdown passes and 10 interceptions in 2009 playing for the struggling Browns two years after his big Pro Bowl season -- can surpass Leinart at any point is an unknown. And Whisenhunt clearly didn’t think it was the time to get into the way Leinart could lose his spot."

ESPN's Adam Schefter says former Steelers running back Willie Parker plans to visit with the Rams beginning Thursday. If healthy, Parker could serve as an intriguing change-of-pace back behind Steve Jackson. He turns 30 in November, however, and that is often when running backs slow considerably. Parker missed five games in 2008. He started only three games last season, carrying 98 times for 389 yards and no touchdowns. He has caught only nine passes over the last two seasons and no more than 31 in any season. The Rams do need a backup running back. It's just important to accurately project what Parker offers at this stage of his career without getting caught up in what he once offered the Steelers.