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Thursday, February 2, 2012
Around the NFC West: Faulk doubts Fisher

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- St. Louis Rams Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk has been on a roll this week, questioning the team's choice of offensive coordinator.

Faulk even wondered aloud whether Jeff Fisher would last long enough to fulfill his contract.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch passes along this comment from Faulk on Fisher: "We'll see. That's all I can say. We will see. Jeff had a long and illustrious tenure in Tennessee and Houston. How long is (owner) Stan Kroenke going to wait? Will they give him all five years regardless of how bumpy it is? If Jeff hits three of those 8-8 seasons, what do you do? That's a lot of money to be mediocre. You've got to deliver." Noted: I think the Rams would be quite pleased with three 8-8 seasons from Fisher after going 10-38 over the past three seasons. I can also see why Faulk might be skeptical. Faulk won big in St. Louis within a high-powered offense. Fisher prefers a more conservative approach.

Matthew Hathaway of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) made its proposal to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome Wednesday, the deadline to do so. Hathaway: "The CVC plan to retain the Rams is such a closely guarded secret that even the Dome's owner -- the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority -- has been largely out of the loop. Officials with the authority have said they don't know what the CVC will propose should be done with the facility, and Ratcliffe said last week that it was not necessary for the authority's board to approve the CVC's offer to the Rams. The Rams, too, have indicated that the franchise likely will keep mum after receiving the CVC proposal today."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says former Raiders assistant John Fassel is the Rams' new special-teams coach. Thomas: "The Raiders had some of the league's best special teams units in 2009 and '10, leading the NFL in special teams takeaways and turnover differential in each of those seasons. In 2010, Oakland's Jacoby Ford had a breakout rookie season with three kickoff returns for touchdowns. Ford also had a 101-yard kickoff return for a score in 2011. But the Raiders' coverage units struggled in '11, yielding three returns for TDs and finishing last in punt coverage and 27th in kickoff coverage."

Jeff Fedotin of National Football Post says former Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu hopes to play in 2012 after resting a knee injury last season.

Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press profiles former Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy. Reynolds: "He’s still a fan favorite in Seattle, and spends a good chunk of time during the season around the New Orleans Saints, for whom some of his closest friends and confidants work. His home is in a well-to-do community, with neighbors including U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, golfer Ian Poulter and famed coach Lou Holtz — someone Kennedy tormented at the height of the Miami-Notre Dame rivalry. Holtz got over it, apparently: He wrote the letter asking that Kennedy be approved to move into the gated community he now calls home."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers could have interest in DeSean Jackson if the receiver encounters a skeptical market and becomes available for a modest contract over the short term. Maiocco: "Jackson might not be in the mold of the big, physical receiver that coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke seem to like. And Jackson might not fit the blue-collar image that Harbaugh stressed. But I don't believe Harbaugh cares about reputation. He'd be open-minded about acquiring an exceptional talent who can help the team."

Also from Maiocco: a look at how the 49ers' linebackers fared in 2011. On Ahmad Brooks: "He played just about every snap this season at left outside linebacker, as he seemed to grasp Vic Fangio's defense well enough to handle his responsibilities against the run and the pass. Brooks recorded seven sacks and was third on the team with 46 quarterback pressures. Brooks typically moved to left defensive end in nickel situations when the 49ers would convert to a four-man line. He was also pretty solid against the run. He had 12 tackles for losses on the year."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic expects receivers coach John McNulty to remain with the Cardinals after Arizona prevented Tampa Bay from interviewing him for their vacant offensive coordinator's position.

Also from Somers: Former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner offers thoughts on Peyton Manning's situation. Warner: "I don't think there's any question in mind, if there's a guy who can do something similar to what I did -- resurrect their career and go somewhere else and play at a higher level -- it's a guy like Peyton. Because you know he's going to work and you know he's going to set a standard. It's hard to do. You don't see many quarterbacks do it."

More from Somers: Ex-Cardinals receiver Roy Green was a two-way player long before New England's Julian Edelman attempted the feat. Somers: "Other guys would jog off the field and get a chance to go sit on the bench and get a chance to gather their thoughts. I was playing 30 to 35 plays on defense, then playing special teams, then you're right back in it (the game)."