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Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Around the NFC West: Martz vs. Belichick

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat revisits Mike Martz's worst day as an NFL coach, pinning the blame largely on Bill Belichick. Martz and Belichick meet again when the Patriots visit the 49ers in Week 5.

Dan Brown of 49ers Hot Read quotes ESPN's Keyshawn Johnson as saying Martz, the 49ers' first-year offensive coordinator, won't be able to stick with the run because a pass-happy approach is in his blood.

Also from Brown: New England has beaten 29 of 31 NFL teams on the road. The 49ers are one of them. This week marks the first time the Patriots have visited Candlestick Park under coach Bill Belichick.

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says 49ers tight end Vernon Davis blamed his emotions for an outburst during the Saints game.

Also from FitzGerald: The 49ers' pass protection "leaked like a bad trumpet valve" in the Big Easy. Coach Mike Nolan defended the protection schemes, comparing them to the ones the Saints use. One huge difference: Drew Brees gets rid of the football as quickly as any quarterback in the league.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the word "interim" isn't part of Jim Haslett's title as head coach of the Rams. That comes as a surprise to me after the Rams sent out a news release beginning this way: "Chip Rosenbloom, owner and chairman of the St. Louis Rams, announced the appointment this morning of Jim Haslett as interim head coach of the Rams, effective immediately." The title is a matter of semantics because there's no such thing as a permanent coach.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says Rams rookie Chris Long planned to call outgoing coach Scott Linehan and thank him for his contributions.

Also from Korte: Haslett initially feared for his family when his phone rang in the middle of the night. Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom was on the line with a job offer.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says an NFL team owner doesn't become a true owner until he fires a coach. Rosenbloom has done that now.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams ownership made the best possible move in elevating Haslett to head coach. He suggests executives John Shaw and Jay Zygmunt are no longer running the football operations.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch assesses Haslett's intensity, noting somewhat surprisingly that the fiery coach might be teaching elementary school if football weren't an option.

Also from Coats: Rams players blame themselves for Linehan's firing.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks have an abundance of receivers now that Deion Branch and Bobby Engram are healthy.

Also from O'Neil: Look for Sean Locklear to start for Seattle at right tackle against the Giants in Week 5. Also, defensive tackle Craig Terrill is resting a sore knee.

Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune says Branch expects to play against the Giants. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck: "He looks really fast and seems really fast. I don't know how to measure it, but the routes we have been running, he has looked good."

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer provides a medical update on the Seahawks. The team is in much better condition following its bye week.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says injured Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin is resting at home. The team doesn't know when Boldin might return to the field, but all tests have produced encouraging results.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals aren't sure if Boldin suffered a concussion against the Jets.

Also from Tulumello: Just how bad were the Cardinals in Week 4?

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com said the team would stay on the road for back-to-back games on the East Coast if coach Ken Whisenhunt had the opportunity again.

Scott Allen of RaisingZona.com looks ahead and looks back on each team in the NFC West.