Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Around the NFC West: Gore's prognosis
By Mike Sando
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers scheduled additional tests for running back Frank Gore's fractured hip even though they do not anticipate any career-threatening complications. Maiocco: "The 49ers promoted running back DeShawn Wynn to the active roster. Wynn has played in 20 games the past four NFL seasons. He appeared in four games with the New Orleans Saints earlier this season after spending his first three years with the Green Bay Packers."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers think Gore should be OK for the start of the 2011 season. Gore's contract runs through 2011. This injury makes it tougher for him to secure a long-term deal. It was questionable, at least in my mind, as to how aggressively the 49ers would pursue a lucrative extension with Gore simply because running backs tend to wear down quickly. This injury affirms those concerns.
Also from Barrows: "The question moving forward is whether the offensive philosophy, which has been built on Gore's ability to run between the tackles, will change with a new cast at running back. Westbrook, who played in a West Coast offense in Philadelphia, is an accomplished receiver who caught 90 passes in 2007. Anthony Dixon, meanwhile, showed exceptional wiggle for a man his size during the exhibition season. He led the league in rushing -- 300 yards -- in the preseason and also scored two touchdowns."
Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News says Gore's injury ends any chances the 49ers might have had this season.
Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers will limit Brian Westbrook's carries to keep the 31-year-old running back healthier. Branch: "Westbrook’s 23 carries Monday marked the fourth-most rushing attempts of his nine-year, 116-game career, which has been marked by a variety of injuries, including two concussions last year with Philadelphia. Westbrook, 31, has never played a full 16-game season and missed 11 games with the Eagles from 2007-09."
Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat thinks Mike Singletary's emotional approach, complete with tears following defeats, makes it tougher for Singletary to serve as an effective coach.
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers expect to get kicker Joe Nedney back in Week 13.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team controls its own playoff destiny but cannot afford another home defeat, particularly against the 1-10 Carolina Panthers. Farnsworth: "The Panthers are averaging a league-low 12.7 points per game. Through 11 games, they have scored 140 points – which, ironically, matches the season total for the 1992 Seahawks, who set the 16-game NFL record for fewest points in a season."
Brian McIntyre of Mac's Football Blog says the Seahawks signed linebacker David Hawthorne through the 2011 season. That makes sense. Hawthorne has generally played well enough to stick around, but not well enough to command a lucrative long-term deal. This one-year extension puts some up-front money in his pocket while buying time for both sides.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks' confidence needs a boost. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck: "We had a team meeting. Pete (Carroll) laid it out and showed some film -- showed some good stuff, too. It wasn't just the bad. Basically (he said), 'Hey guys, I need you to believe in how good you can be.' "
Also from O'Neil: Seattle's running game has gotten worse. O'Neil: "Seattle is headed toward its fifth straight season without a 1,000-yard rusher. It hasn't helped that fullback Michael Robinson missed the past five games with a hamstring injury, and with five games left, the Seahawks are still trying to piece together some semblance of a ground game."
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, who offers thoughts on the team's six-game losing streak, his wife's cooking and a potential future in politics. Feely on teammate Derek Anderson's postgame news conference: "I saw it when I got home and I talked to him today. I like Derek and I know he's a competitor and I know he's kind of got a surly nature like that and it doesn't come across great sometimes. But I think it's because he does truly care. He wants to be good. He wants to win. He practices hard and he studies hard, but obviously he didn't handle it the best way."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic has this to say about the Cardinals' run defense Monday night: "Because of Darnell Dockett's shoulder injury, the Cardinals at one point had three nose tackles in the game: Dan Williams, Gabe Watson and Alan Branch. That's 1,003 pounds of tackles but the 49ers were able to move them. The Cardinals linebackers couldn't fill the gaps, and the 49ers averaged 5.6 yards a carry."
Also from Somers: Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is sticking with Anderson at quarterback. Whisenhunt: "As hard as it is to say, I have seen Derek in here working his tail off. I have seen improvement over the last few weeks. That's really what you look for, and I think he gives us the best chance to win right now."
More from Somers: Beanie Wells failed to raise his arm high enough to accept the handoff from Anderson on the Cardinals' first offensive play against San Francisco on Monday night, resulting in a fumbled exchange.
More yet from Somers: He explains his thinking in asking Anderson the questions that prompted the quarterback to lose his composure following the game Monday night. Somers: "I take no satisfaction in what happened, but I felt the questions were justified. The Cardinals were losing their sixth consecutive game. Their starting quarterback and right guard were smiling on the sidelines. Readers wanted to know why, especially since many of them think this team is not playing as hard as it should."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals are searching for reasons behind their poor play. Larry Fitzgerald says passion isn't lacking.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a team-by-team look at the NFC West coming out of Week 12. Concerns for the Rams: "Over the last three games, the Rams defense has allowed an average of 437 yards and 30 points. In the three games they've been burned for 6 TD passes (with no INTs) and a passer rating of 109.2 The Rams have given up a league-high 10 pass plays of 25- plus yards over the last three games ... the coaching staff needs to shake this tendency on offense of going into a safe shell late in games to protect leads ... on offense the disappointing running game lacks consistency."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers a chat transcript with this thought on why Mardy Gilyard has not done more. Thomas: "The real reason is Gilyard missed time in the offseason and preseason, has been hurt off and on this season, has been slow to learn the offense, seems to be pressing, and currently isn't getting nearly as many opportunities as he might because others -- including (Danario) Alexander -- are getting the job done." Does Gilyard get more chances now that tight end Mike Hoomanawanui isn't an option?
Also from Thomas: Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo looks at what happened when the Rams nearly lost a big fourth-quarter lead at Denver. Spagnuolo: "I like the fact that we're able to work on that after getting our fifth win. It's hard to win in this league. Pretty tough to go to Denver and win, too. That's a tough place to play."
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch assesses the Rams' progress. Burwell: "Sunday in Denver was a test that had to be passed, and the Rams got through and won. Now look at the schedule. It seems as though things couldn't have been scripted for these final five weeks any better if Steve Spagnuolo had plotted out the schedule himself."