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Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Around the NFC West: Singletary's status

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle wonders whether Mike Singletary will keep his job as head coach if the 49ers lose to the Broncos in Week 8. White: "The 49ers have a bye next week, which is the traditional time for terrible NFL teams to make coaching changes. The 49ers tried to use the bye-week timing two years ago, but Mike Nolan caught wind of the coup and forced the 49ers to act one game earlier than they wanted. According to a team source, York would not fire Singletary because he thought there was a better coach on the staff. Rather, it would be a statement to the fan base that a 1-7 start to a season is not acceptable behavior."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com looks at Frank Gore's slight reduction in playing time, with Anthony Dixon and Brian Westbrook under consideration for more reps. Maiocco: "Westbrook will probably be the undisputed backup on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, as Dixon sustained a hamstring strain in the fourth quarter and might not be available for action until after the bye week."

Taylor Price of 49ers.com checks in from London, where the 49ers arrived to face Denver in Week 9.

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Singletary thinks the team is faring well in most categories except for playing smart.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers quarterback Alex Smith remains sore and has not slept much since suffering a shoulder injury Sunday.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team could get Brandon Mebane and Kelly Jennings back from injuries Thursday. Mebane has missed the last two games with a calf injury. Jennings has missed most of the last two games with a hamstring injury.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times takes a look back at the Seahawks' performance against Arizona in Week 7 to see what we've learned about the team. On Golden Tate: "Six games into his rookie season, the second-round draft pick has caught the same number of passes (eight) as Brandon Stokley, who has been with the team less than a month. He did play some receiver in Sunday's game, but you're forgiven if you didn't notice. He was targeted once, and didn't catch the ball that one time it was thrown to him. His 52-yard catch in Week 2 at Denver remains Seattle's longest play from scrimmage in six games, but in a season when so many rookies have already contributed, Tate has been a disappointment." It can be tough trusting a rookie to play from the slot or handle any responsibilities for which he hasn't practiced significantly, partly explaining why Ben Obomanu took over once an injury sidelined Stokley.

Also from O'Neil: Avoiding mistakes is enough for Matt Hasselbeck to succeed in Seattle's offense.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald says Tony Dungy's colleagues on NBC nearly laughed the former coach off the set when Dungy called Seattle the best team in the NFC pending results of the Monday night game involving the New York Giants. The Seahawks like Dungy, too. They offered him a job as team president before hiring Pete Carroll as head coach.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Max Hall will remain the Cardinals' starting quarterback if he's healthy enough to play. Hall suffered a concussion Sunday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "We'll obviously know more about that on Wednesday. But the league has procedures for this now and the doctors will evaluate him and they'll make the right decision based on how he does his baseline tests and how he does his cognitive tests. ... We'll go based on what they see in evaluating him."

Also from McManaman: Beanie Wells could be close to replacing Tim Hightower in the Cardinals' lineup after Hightower lost another fumble. The Cardinals like Hightower, but these miscues give them every reason to push Wells into a more prominent role. It just makes sense.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in with Arizona players regarding Raheem Morris' comments about the Cardinals' Week 8 opponent, Tampa Bay, being the best team in the NFC. Darnell Dockett: "You really can’t tell who the best team is until February when the Super Bowl comes. That’s the best team, who represents the NFC. You just hope your words don’t come back to bite you when you say stuff like that. We’re going to stay humble and that’s our main focus."

Also from Urban: Whisenhunt defends Hall by saying it's important to remember the quarterback is a rookie.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams players following news that Steven Jackson underwent surgery to repair a broken finger. Tackle Jason Smith: "Everybody on the team is important, but Steven Jackson's a leader. Everybody knows he's a very important piece of this puzzle."

Also from Coats: Rams cornerback Ron Bartell, already hurting, now has an injured shoulder as well.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo downplayed the reasons for the team's defeat at Tampa Bay. Thomas: "I told the guys in there, don't be 'deep-thinking' this thing. Should we have won the game 17-12, we would've won it because we would've made one or two plays somewhere in there. That's how close it came down to, and there wouldn't be as (many) questions."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says Spagnuolo stands by his decision to use timeouts late in the first half against Tampa Bay. The Bucs wound up getting the ball back and scoring a field goal before halftime. Spagnuolo: "I just felt like 17-3, I felt good about our offense getting the ball back. Again, this is confidence in the defense now. I never expected that third-and-(16) that they would get that third-and-(16). I wanted to leave as much time on the clock as we could for the offense. They got the first down and they were off and running." The rest of us get to have it both ways on this one. If the Rams had gotten the ball back and scored, we'd be praising Spagnuolo for showing faith in a young team. Once the move did not work out, it's easy to say Spagnuolo should have played it safe.

Also from Wagoner: The Rams have high expectations.