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Wednesday, September 29, 2010
How I See It: NFC West Stock Watch

By Mike Sando

» NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

1. Mike Singletary, 49ers coach. The "falling" list isn't long enough to single out every 49ers individual worthy of mention under the designation. We can start and end with the head coach. Mike Singletary's coaching future appears shakier with every defeat. His stock is falling. Singletary's most important decision as head coach -- hiring an offensive coordinator -- came unraveled with Jimmy Raye's firing after only three games this season.

2. Andre Roberts, Cardinals wide receiver. The Cardinals are desperate for help at receiver, but Roberts hasn't been ready. The team tried him at punt returner against Oakland and Roberts, a third-round choice, misplayed at least one of two punts that fell shorter than anticipated. The Raiders recovered both of them and nearly won the game as a result.

3. Tim Hightower, Cardinals running back. The running game perked up immediately with Beanie Wells making his 2010 debut. Hightower was on the "rising" list a week ago after his 80-yard touchdown run gave the Cardinals their only touchdown against Atlanta. There was not much he could do about Wells' return. He had 11 carries for 40 yards against the Raiders.

RISING

Leon Washington
Leon Washington's two kick returns for touchdowns keyed Seattle's upset of San Diego.
1. Leon Washington, Seahawks running back. Two kickoff returns for touchdowns allowed the Seahawks to beat San Diego even though Seattle squandered two clear scoring chances in the first half. The Seahawks' personnel people deserve some credit here, too. They're the ones who identified Washington as a low-risk, high-reward acquisition.

2. Steve Spagnuolo, Rams coach. Spagnuolo badly needed a boost after a disappointing performance at Oakland in Week 2. Beating a Washington Redskins team featuring defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and quarterback Donovan McNabb should carry extra meaning. Haslett coached the Rams previously, so losing to him would have looked bad on Spagnuolo's résumé. McNabb was familiar with the Rams' coaching staff from the time they shared in Philadelphia, and there was some thought St. Louis should have pursued McNabb during the offseason.

3. Beanie Wells, Cardinals running back. Wells had 14 carries for 75 yards against the Raiders. He ran with authority. The Cardinals might need to rely on him even more now that knee surgery will sideline No. 2 receiver Steve Breaston for the next couple of games, at least.