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Sunday, February 22, 2009
Around the NFC West: Rams face decisions

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says it's increasingly likely the Rams will release Orlando Pace and Torry Holt. Releasing Pace would reinforce the idea that the Rams might draft an offensive tackle with the second overall choice. Also, the Rams are not close to a deal with cornerback Ron Bartell. The Rams are in a bit of a tough spot with Bartell. They would like to retain their best young talent, but how much can they invest in players their coaching staff does not yet know very well?

VanRam of Turf Show Times considers Aaron Curry as a potential Rams draft choice based on the Wake Forest linebacker's versatility.

Also from VanRam: Could Gibril Wilson be the Rams' next strong safety? Money would be the key variable on that one. The Rams have already named Oshiomogho Atogwe their franchise player. That means they'll be less likely to invest significant money in the other safety spot.

Niners scout Todd Brunner says Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe validated his position as one of the top offensive tackles. Brunner: "He moved around well, had a good workout and did well in the position drills."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers have serious concerns about Shaun Hill's arm strength and they wonder if defenses might be able to stack the line of scrimmage without worrying about Hill beating them with downfield throws.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic gives Ken Whisenhunt's explanation for firing defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. Whisenhunt talked about holding everyone accountable, including coaches, while pointing to scoring defense and red zone defense as problems.

Also from Somers: Cardinals general manager Rod Graves spoke with running back Edgerrin James this week, but the team has no immediate plans to release James. At this point, the Cardinals are better with James on their roster. They presumably would not release him without adding another back.

Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind looks at the Cardinals' guard situation.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune quotes Seahawks coach Jim Mora as including offensive tackles as "impact" players, citing Walter Jones as an example. Team president Tim Ruskell previously said he was sure this draft would not produce a tackle on Jones' level.

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News says Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree said he would not undergo foot surgery.