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Friday, January 16, 2009
Around the NFC West: Cards, Cards, Cards

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Corbett of USA Today looks into how the Cardinals have improved on defense in recent weeks.

Ashley Fox of the Philadelphia Inquirer profiles Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, starting with his days at Valley Forge.

Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune joins his boss in picking the Eagles to beat the Cardinals.

Also from Bordow: The Cardinals success traces to Dennis Green's ability to identify and draft young talent.

William Bender of the Philadelphia Daily News checks in with Cardinals fans living in the Philadelphia area. Said fan Dan Kurtz: "My wife just shakes her head and goes, 'Why do you like teams that [stink]?'" Bender: "He embraced the Cards around 1991 - remember Tom Tupa? - when they became his go-to team on Nintendo's Tecmo Super Bowl."

Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News checks in with Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who calls Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson "a pain" to play against.

Geoff Mosher of the Courier-Post looks at Cardinals players with roots on the Eagles' roster.

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic recounts how the Cardinals made up a key play on the fly to help beat the Panthers. Update: Here is the correct link.

Bob McManaman and Bob Young of the Arizona Republic quote Cardinals running back Edgerrin James on the lighter side of being benched. James said he learned more about sideline etiquette -- when to stand, when to sit, when to get out of the way.

Also from McManaman: a look at the quarterback decision the Cardinals face heading into the 2009 season.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune says Kurt Warner and Donovan McNabb appreciate their current situations.

Also from Tulumello: The Cardinals haven't given up on resigning Anquan Boldin.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Fitzgerald is stepping up when the Cardinals most need him.

Also from Urban: a look back at the regular-season meeting between the Cardinals and Eagles.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle explains why he thinks Scott Linehan might fit as the 49ers' offensive coordinator. Crumpacker: "Because Linehan runs the same kind of digit-based system as former coordinator Mike Martz, hiring him would make for a more seamless offensive transition in 2009."

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says Linehan would be walking into a situation different from the one he encountered with the Rams.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams general manager Billy Devaney didn't enjoy telling Jim Haslett the interim coach was no longer under consideration for the long-term job. Devaney also says the Rams have not begun negotiations with any other candidate.

Also from Thomas: a look at Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who could become the Rams' next head coach.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Haslett could have done the job effectively.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a closer look at Haslett as the former coach leaves the Rams' organization.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer looks at the Seahawks' quarterback situation. General manager Tim Ruskell and coach Jim Mora have both committed to Matt Hasselbeck as their starter for 2009. Mora: "Certainly, Matt Hasselbeck is the point man. He's our point guard. He's our triggerman. He's our quarterback. I'm very excited about that. Matt is a special player. He's a special man. And he gives us a ton of flexibility. The most important thing for us right now is that Matt get -- and stay -- healthy."

Doug Farrar of Field Gulls cites a 2003 story in wondering whether Mora leans on statistics in the manner of new Lions coach Jim Schwartz.