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Sunday, October 12, 2008
Around the NFC West: Referendum on Nolan

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee answers questions about 49ers coach Mike Nolan, whose approval rating appears to be less than 100 percent.

Also from Barrows: A look at the Eagles' blitzing ways.

More from Barrows: A matchup box noting how Brian Westbrook accounted for 35 percent of the Eagles' offense last season. Westbrook will not play against the 49ers.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers will have their hands full against the Eagles' sixth-ranked defense.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider takes a look at the Eagles' offense. Donovan McNabb used the shotgun quite a bit in the most recent game.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Patrick Willis could wear the radio headset on defense against the Eagles. Also, Justin Smith could play more outside linebacker.

Also from Maiocco: A matchup box with a quote from Mike Martz suggesting the 49ers' offense is coming together.

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News thinks Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson must be salivating as he prepares to unleash blitzes on the 49ers' J.T. O'Sullivan.

Scott Allen of RaisingZona.com checks in with former Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams, who sees parallels between Ken Whisenhunt's approach and the one Dick Vermeil used in restoring the St. Louis Rams.

Also from Allen: He predicts a 35-31 victory for the Cowboys.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers end-of-week thoughts on the Cardinals. He takes issue with the idea that Bills quarterback Trent Edwards was defenseless when Arizona's Adrian Wilson delivered a knockout blow in Week 5. To me, there was no question Wilson drove Edwards into the ground with unnecessary force after the quarterback had ceased being a threat to the defense. The discussion then becomes whether driving the quarterback into the ground with unnecessary force violates rules.

Also from Urban: Karlos Dansby thinks the Bills overlooked the Cardinals and ran into a "hornet's nest" at University of Phoenix Stadium. Will the Cowboys follow suit?

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic revisits how Kurt Warner and Tony Romo entered the NFL as undrafted free agents. Both rank among the top four in passing this season.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic checks in with Troy Aikman for a look at the Cowboys. Aikman sees a team that must guard against declining.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune sizes up the opportunity awaiting the Cardinals. 

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks' season is on the line against the Packers. And it's only Week 6.

Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune recalls how Packers running back Ryan Grant replaced Seahawks running back Julius Jones at Notre Dame.

Jose Romero of the Seattle Times quotes Mike Holmgren as calling the Seahawks a "wounded" team that must play better.

Also from Romero: A few notes and questions relating to the Seahawks in Week 6. Seattle is 52-32 against NFC teams since 2003, best in the league. Seattle is 22-4 since the start of the 2005 season when winning the battle for time of possession.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Holmgren put players on notice this week. These weren't the same players he coached through training camp in some cases. Three of the top four receivers weren't with the Seahawks when the season opened. They could be catching passes from the third-string quarterback.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams need a new attitude following their 0-4 start. Thomas quotes a sport psychologist, always a good sign.

Also from Thomas: A look at matchups in the Rams-Redskins game. He favors the Redskins in every listed matchup.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Redskins are better with linebacker Rocky McIntosh back from injury. Also, Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell has zero turnovers this season after suffering six interceptions and seven lost fumbles in his final seven games before suffering a knee injury last season.

Also from Coats: Jim Zorn has been a perfect fit for the Redskins so far. Clinton Portis loves Zorn's aggressive approach toward play calling.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat looks at Jim Haslett's adjustment to being a head coach again.