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Tuesday, September 30, 2008
NFC West stock watch

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Up:

1. Jim Haslett, head coach, Rams. A promotion from defensive coordinator gives Haslett a chance to breathe life into the Rams -- and his own career.

2. Steven Jackson, RB, Rams. He reached 100 yards rushing for the first time this season.

3. Marc Bulger, QB, Rams. The likelihood of Bulger regaining the starting job improved when Haslett became head coach.

4. Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seahawks. Getting receivers Deion Branch and Bobby Engram back should make No. 8 more effective.

5. Steve Breaston, WR, Cardinals. Nine catches against the Jets exceeded his total for last season. Breaston could start if Anquan Boldin remains sidelined.

6. Leonard Little, DE, Rams. A two-sack performance against the Bills showed Little was sufficiently recovered from a hamstring injury.

7. Arnaz Battle, WR, 49ers. Seven catches for 120 yards against the Saints marked season highs by wide margins.

8. Joe Nedney, K, 49ers. He made all three field-goal tries, his first game without a miss since the opener.

Down:

1. Scott Linehan, former coach, Rams. Linehan will be better off for this move in the long run, but getting fired had to hurt.

2. John Shaw and Jay Zygmunt, Rams executives. Linehan's firing looks like the first step in an organizational overhaul that could remake the front office.

4. Kurt Warner, QB, Cardinals. Six turnovers against the Jets raised old questions about protecting the football. Warner needs better protection, too.

5. Mike Martz, offensive coordinator, 49ers. The genius talk subsided after J.T. O'Sullivan took six more sacks to go with two end-zone interceptions.

6. Ken Whisenhunt, head coach, Cardinals. The decision to spend a week on the East Coast played no obvious role in the team's defeat, but a victory would have raised Whisenhunt's gravitas.

7. 49ers safeties. These guys were no match for crafty Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

8. Al Saunders, offensive coordinator, Rams. He lost out to Haslett for the head-coaching job, and now it's unclear if his preferred quarterback, Trent Green, will remain the starter.

9. Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers. Getting reprimanded for yelling at coaches isn't a good sign.

10. Ray Willis, RT, Seahawks. Despite playing well, Willis will most likely lose his starting job now that Sean Locklear is healthy.

11. Courtney Taylor, WR, Seahawks. Remember him? The Seahawks will not when it comes time to set lineups now that Branch and Engram are back.