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Thursday, January 1, 2009
Around the NFC West: 49ers seek coordinator

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle outlines the philosophical differences that led to Mike Martz's ouster from the 49ers. Also, Mike Singletary says the team needs to upgrade at offensive tackle, safety and pass-rusher.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says there's confusion over who has control of the 49ers' roster after Singletary suggested he would have control despite reporting to general manager Scot McCloughan. 

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat provides a transcript from Singletary's end-of-season news conference. Singletary says the 49ers sneaked up on a few opponents this season.

Also from Maiocco: The 49ers admittedly are taking another step backward in an effort to move forward, but Singletary saw no other way.

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers need more than just a power running game to succeed.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee lists Scott Linehan, Jim Fassel and Norm Chow as potential offensive coordinators for the 49ers. Note: Link updated thanks to a tip from base2bass.

Ann Killion of the San Jose Mercury News raises questions about the 49ers' power structure after a team spokesman suggested Singletary and McCloughan would share control of the roster.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Singletary will favor an experienced offensive coordinator without ruling out inexperienced candidates.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic looks at pivotal moments in the Cardinals' season, including the contract awarded to receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Also from Somers: Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley thinks the team's performance against Seattle in Week 17 was critical in re-establishing a running game.

More from Somers, with Bob McManaman: a notebook with items on the Falcons and Cardinals, with a look at key matchups.

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic profiles a Cardinals fan with 61 years experience rooting for the team. Richard Hayden remembers attending the team's previous home playoff game -- in 1947.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in with the Cardlinals' longest-tenured players. Six have spent six or more seasons with the team, starting with Adrian Wilson.

Also from Urban: The Falcons' Matt Ryan was in high school the last time Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner started a playoff game.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune questions whether the Cardinals' defense can hold up against the Falcons.

Mike Sakal of the East Valley Tribune says Fitzgerald's longtime girlfriend has obtained a protection order against the Pro Bowl receiver. Fitzgerald is not facing criminal charges.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams coach Jim Haslett, under contract until Feb. 15, is going about his business as usual while the team searches for a head coach.

Also from Thomas: Rams assistants Jim Chaney and Keith Murphy are taking jobs at the college level.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch defends St. Louis as a football town by ripping Arizona and Minnesota for failing to sell out playoff games.

Greg Johns of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says Seahawks rookie Lawrence Jackson expects improvement in 2009 after a humbling rookie season.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times sizes up the Seahawks' projected strength of schedule for 2009, drawing comparisons to recent seasons.