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Monday, January 12, 2009
Around the NFC West: Rams' five finalists

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch identifies Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett as one of five finalists to become the Rams' head coach. Other finalists include interim Rams coach Jim Haslett, Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan.

Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News says the Rams have lined up an interview with  Spagnuolo. Vacchiano: "That will be the fifth interview for Spagnuolo, who has already met with officials for the Browns, Broncos, Jets and Lions. The Lions are reportedly interested in bringing him to Detroit for an interview this week, and a league source said the Jets might try to interview him for a second time, too."

Clark Judge of CBS Sports.com says the Cardinals should think about extending coach Ken Whisenhunt's contract.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Whisenhunt plans no changes to the Cardinals' offense after losing tight end Stephen Spach to a knee injury. You might recall Leonard Pope making a 25-yard reception at Philadelphia on Thanksgiving.

More from Somers, with Richard Obert: Cardinals fullback Terrelle Smith relays a story about his cancer-stricken mother having a vision about Arizona playing for the NFC title at home. Smith: "Doctors say sometimes they get delusional and, at times, we thought she was. But now it lines up. It makes sense, and it tells me what to fight for every week." Smith's mother died last month.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals' 41-yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald owed its roots to a play drawn up on the team plane. The play -- Fake Toss, 339 Taxi Pass -- was such a secret that the team decided against running it during its walkthrough in Charlotte.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says new Seahawks coach Jim Mora is surrounding himself with assistant coaches he knows and trusts. Mora's first news conference as head coach is scheduled for Tuesday.

Rob Staton of Seahawks Draft Blog takes a deliberate look at potential draft options for the Seahawks with the fourth overall choice, balancing why certain options may or may not be feasible.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, citing a National Football Post report, says former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski will interview to become the 49ers' offensive coordinator. Jagodzinski also worked previously on Mora's staff in Atlanta. Update: Jagodzinski is not a candidate.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee sees similarities in the resumes of Jagodzinski and fellow candidate Rick Dennison. Update: Those similarities would be more interesting if Jagodzinski were indeed a candidate.