NFC West: Eddie DeBartolo

For the second straight year, two key figures of the San Francisco 49ers' dynasty years did not make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after becoming finalists.

Former team owner Eddie DeBartolo and former pass-rusher Charles Haley were among the finalists not to get elected into the Canton, Ohio, museum Saturday. Haley made the cut from 15 finalists to 10. DeBartolo did not.

In December, DeBartolo said he was focused on Haley getting in more than his own candidacy. DeBartolo said Haley had asked the former 49ers owner to present him. Haley will likely get in before DeBartolo.

Haley, who played for the 49ers from 1986-91 and finished his career there in 1999, is the only player to win five Super Bowl rings. He won them with the 49ers and with Dallas. He finished with 100.5 sacks and he had 4.5 sacks in his five Super Bowls, which is a record.

Still, Haley has had a long wait for enshrinement. He has been eligible for 10 years. Some league observers point to the fact he made just five Pro Bowls appearances in 12 NFL seasons and that he was known for being a difficult personality as reasons he didn't make it.

DeBartolo's issue is that it is simply difficult for non-players to work their way through the process. DeBartolo, who owned the 49ers from 1977-2000, has a résumé worthy of enshrinement.

The 49ers made 16 playoff appearances, 10 NFC title game appearances and won five Super Bowls while DeBartolo was their owner. DeBartolo was beloved by his players, coaches and by 49ers fans. There are 13 owners in the Hall of Fame.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Eddie DeBartolo is a happy man.

Charles Haley is a finalist again for induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yes, DeBartolo is one of the 15 finalists again, but he said last month Haley's candidacy is more important to him.

Last month, I asked DeBartolo, the 49ers' former owner, about being a semifinalist. He said he'd be thrilled to be inducted, but his focus is on getting Haley, a pass-rush star, voted into the Canton, Ohio, museum. Haley has asked DeBartolo to present him if he gets inducted. They were both finalists last year.

According to some members of the voting committee, Haley probably has a better chance than DeBartolo of getting in when the vote is made Feb. 1. In addition to the 15 finalists, there are two senior committee nominations. No more than seven and no less than four of the 17 nominees will be elected.

Linebacker Kevin Greene is also a finalist. He spent some time with the 49ers at the end of his career.

Former 49ers star running back Roger Craig did not make the transition from the semifinalist list to the final 15 Thursday night.

Three 49ers are HOF semifinalists

November, 20, 2013
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Three key figures from the San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl era are among the 25 semifinalists up for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014: former owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., running back Roger Craig and pass-rusher Charles Haley.

Linebacker Kevin Greene, who played his last season with the 49ers, also is on the list.

The list will be pared down in January to 15, plus two nominees from the Seniors Committee. The final vote will be revealed in February, on the day before the Super Bowl. At least four and no more then seven new members will be elected.

If I had to guess, I’d think Haley has the best chance among the 49ers' group to be elected in 2014. DeBartolo is one of several league contributors on the semifinal list, so that may be difficult.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The behind-the-scenes hero of the 1980s San Francisco 49ers will be in the spotlight this weekend.

Front-office star John McVay will be inducted into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame. There will be a celebration Saturday and McVay, 82, will be honored at halftime of the 49ers’ home game against Arizona on Sunday.

Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo will be in town to honor McVay. DeBartolo clearly knows McVay was a huge part of the Super Bowl era for the 49ers.

McVay came to San Francisco in 1979 with legendary coach Bill Walsh. He was the general manager from 1983-94, leaving after a Super Bowl season. He then come back in another front-office role from 1999-2003.

He is often credited for helping build the championship rosters, and Sunday, it culminates with McVay's induction.

Around the NFC West: Rams' chances

November, 24, 2010
11/24/10
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Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have become a little too consistent on offense, at least in terms of how many points they score. Thomas: "Ten games into the season, the Rams have topped 20 points only once, in a 30-16 victory over Washington in Game 3. At a point in the season where there is next to nothing left on the street in terms of free agents, it could very well be that the Rams have reached their level of competency for this season. Compared to last year, the offensive improvement has been significant. With six games still to go this season, the Rams already have scored more touchdowns (18 to 17) and scored more points (177 to 175) than they did in the entire 2009 season."

Also from Thomas: a chat transcript featuring his thoughts on the Rams' chances in the NFC West. Thomas: "I think Arizona and San Francisco are out of it. If the Rams can win two of these next three road games, I think they're very much in the mix. If they win one of the three, they're hanging by a thread, if they lose all three forget about it."

Roger Hensley of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch polls colleagues on the legacy of Steven Jackson. Bill Coats: "It’s been interesting to watch Steven Jackson mature over his seven seasons with the Rams. He was open with his feelings and thus misunderstood for a few years. Ultimately, I think his legacy will be as a fierce competitor, the most productive running back in franchise history, as well as a devoted team leader."

Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com says Sam Bradford's success as a rookie contrasts sharply with experiences elsewhere around the league.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com offers a player-by-player review from the 49ers' game against Tampa Bay, noting that the offensive line struggled. Maiocco on rookie tackle Anthony Davis: "He had another difficult game with a couple pressures surrendered. Although none of the sacks were entirely on him, his protection could've been a lot better on half of those six sacks. Defensive lineman Michael Bennett beat him on a fourth-quarter sacks, and linebacker Quincy Black got pressure that contributed to a sack, too."

Also from Maiocco: Mike Singletary would need lots of breaks to return as head coach in 2011. Maiocco: "True, the 49ers are not inclined to make any dramatic move during the season. But the attention brought on by a national-TV audience for "Monday Night Football" against the Arizona Cardinals could also factor into the equation. If the wheels come off Monday night -- as they did Sunday against the Buccaneers -- it might force Jed York to expedite his next move."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee lists Jon Gruden, Jim Harbaugh and Brian Billick as likely candidates to replace Singletary.

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Troy Smith needs to do a better job avoiding sacks. Branch: "Offensive coordinator Mike Johnson said Troy Smith was responsible for at least three of the six sacks the Niners allowed against Tampa Bay, which had managed eight sacks in its first nine games. On two occasions, Smith held the ball too long and on another occasion he rolled out and, instead of throwing the ball away, ran out of bounds for a two-yard loss, which goes as a sack in the stat book."

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says Singletary appears to hold the Cardinals in low regard. Also from Kawakami: "If John and Jed York really want to change the culture -- and GET A QUARTERBACK --they’d have to spotlight the offensive wizard in Stanford, which also happened with Eddie D more than 30 years ago. And if the Two JYs don’t check out Harbaugh because they’re either scared of the money terms or don’t want to change up their Jed/Paraag Marathe/Lal Heneghan/Trent Baalke bland hierarchy, then we’ll know things aren’t likely to change for a great while."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Justin Forsett, the only Seattle running back on the roster from last season, has played well when called upon for the Seahawks.

Also from Farnsworth: a look at roster moves Seattle made Tuesday.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the relationship between Pete Carroll and Matt Hasselbeck resembled an arranged marriage, but that doesn't mean it cannot work.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune posts Brian McIntyre's weekly snap counts and personnel notes for Seattle. McIntyre: "Against Seattle’s base defense, Drew Brees completed 14-of-24 pass attempts for 175 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interception. Brees was 6-for-7 for 91 yards against the Seahawks’ “Bandit” package, converting 5-of-7 third down conversion attempts. Brees was 5-for-6 for 85 yards and a touchdown when Seattle was in dime, 3-for-5 for 27 yards against nickel and 1-for-1 for 3 yards and a touchdown against Seattle’s short-yardage package."

Also from Williams: a look at the Seahawks' issues in the red zone on offense.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald says the Seahawks should win the NFC West this season. Boyle: "With six games left on the schedule, the Seahawks are alone in first place in football’s worst division. They play four of those six games at Qwest Field and the team closest in the standings, St. Louis, has to come to Seattle at the end of the season. So we should no longer be asking if the Seahawks can make the playoffs; the discussion should instead be what a disappointment it would be if they don’t."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, who says the team will fight through its current struggles. Bidwill: "I'm a fan and this is really frustrating to all of us. I know the guys are working hard and we're trying to get this thing rectified. The good news is we're only two games out of first, but we have to focus on getting out there on Monday [vs. the 49ers], against an NFC West opponent, and take care of business."

Also from Somers: The Cardinals' roster moves suggest the team expects LaRod Stephens-Howling and Jason Wright to return from injuries.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says he sees Larry Fitzgerald re-signing with the Cardinals as the most likely scenario. I think that depends largely on what the team does at quarterback before Fitzgerald's contract expires following the 2011 season.
101ESPN St. Louis links to a recent conversation with former Rams and Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner. Warner addresses why he enjoys Twitter, his legacy after leading two struggling NFL franchises to the Super Bowl and why he has no regrets about retirement. Basically, Warner says he remembers how difficult the past couple of seasons were for him and that helps affirm the decision. Warner's legacy is secure and he seems to realize there's no reason to push his luck. He'd been thinking about retirement for a couple of years, periodically lamenting the grind of an NFL season. He won't miss training camp or the Monday-through-Saturday work quarterbacks must put in to succeed.

101ESPN St. Louis also links to its audio from a recent interview with former Rams offensive lineman Adam Timmerman, who is now selling John Deere farm equipment. Timmerman says he thinks the Rams need to bring along Sam Bradford at the quarterback's own pace, rather than rushing Bradford into the lineup.

Doug Farrar of Shutdown Corner sizes up the Rams on both sides of the ball before concluding with this: "This may be the least-talented team in the NFL right now. That's the bad news. The good news is that the team has elite potential at key positions (left tackle, quarterback, middle linebacker). Rams fans will have more to cheer for in 2010; but they'll need a bit more of the patience they've had in bunches over the last few seasons. Four to six wins is a realistic (and positive) projection for this team." I think most Rams fans would be ecstatic with that type of improvement record-wise.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch does not expect a quick contract agreement between the Rams and Bradford. July 28 is the target because that is when the Rams open training camp. Thomas: "The Rams and No. 1 draft pick Sam Bradford started contract talks (Friday), but a deal isn't expected any time soon, a team official said."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com quotes a radio interview in which Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson says he thinks teammate Darnell Dockett was "unfair" in suggesting new Arizona safety Kerry Rhodes might not be working out hard enough. Wilson also explained why he works so hard: "I don’t know, I think it’s an addiction. My wife told me I need to be on the show 'Intervention.' … It’s the scare factor. You don’t want to be passed up or have people think you don’t got it. I’ve got it. A lot of people are talented, but I’m gifted. To me, that’s important for me to have people understand. There are a lot of talented safeties out there, there are a lot of talented guys in the league, but I’m gifted. And that’s something, for me, if I continue to work hard and if one day my talent begins to diminish, I can fall back on my hard work."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says 49ers owner John York thinks the team will enjoy a home-field advantage for its London game against the Broncos based on how many 49ers fans he saw in the city previously. York also thinks the NFL will eventually hold a Super Bowl outside the U.S. York: "I was excited about coming here. I think we will have a good home-field advantage here in the UK. I was here for the [New England-Tampa Bay] game last year and there were a lot of 49er fans here."

Samuel Chi of Sports Media Exchange ranks Eddie DeBartolo Jr. among the 10 most significant owners in sports history, comparing him to late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Chi: "Eddie D. was the NFL's Steinbrenner. Win at all costs. Spend lavishly. Break the law. But an errant Louisiana casino deal translated into a lifetime ban from the league and now his spendthrift sister runs his beloved 49ers, who won five Super Bowls on his watch."

Zach Ewing of the Bakersfield Californian checks in with Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Joey Porter, who continues to live in Bakersfield with the wife he improbably escorted to their high school prom. Their dates had fallen through and the school required them to attend with someone or not attend at all. Christy Porter: "I said, 'There's no way I'm going to the prom with Joey Porter. 'I just won't go.' But Joey gives me a call, says that if I don't like him as a boyfriend or he doesn't like me as a girlfriend, that's fine. We can get in and hang with friends; we don't even have to ride together. The rest is history after that."

Seahawks.com hosts video from coach Pete Carroll's recent appearance on NFL Network.

John Morgan of Field Gulls doesn't see a bright future in Seattle for linebacker Leroy Hill. Morgan: "Hill can still be a good linebacker, but it's hardly a premium position, his legal troubles are mounting, he is now quite expensive, the injuries that have plagued his career have worsened and Seattle discovered a more than adequate replacement in David Hawthorne."
Kevin from Sylmar, Calif., writes: With everything going with the Oshiomogho Atogwe situation, it makes me feel really bad for him. The last few years have been tough for that organization (not that I'm complaining, since the 49ers have beaten up on them). I agree with your assessment of his opportunities in the NFC West. The Niners and Seahawks drafted safeties that they project to be future starters, and the Cardinals traded for a safety to replace Antrel Rolle. I really don't think that he re-signs with the Rams, especially after they just basically let him walk without even trying. I think his future lies elsewhere in the league, maybe in Dallas or even Chicago or Tampa Bay. What do you think? It's a sad story for a guy who for all accounts is a fine upstanding player and has been an ascending player in this league.

Mike Sando: Atogwe earned $6.324 million last season, so we shouldn't feel too badly for his current predicament. But I also like to see players get rewarded for the right reasons. Atogwe has been a team player all the way and a productive one. He handled himself even better than the Rams could have expected last offseason. He practiced with the team as an unsigned franchise player, something I cannot recall another player doing. The way he handled himself last offseason tells me there's still a chance he'll come back to the Rams. Right now, it's fair to wonder if he has any viable options elsewhere.


Zach from Okinawa writes: Hey Mike! love what your doing here in the NFC West blog. I was curious to know if you think any other team in the West would make a move for Atogwe. San Francisco puts lots of emphasis on its 'D' and could use depth in the backfield. The Cards lost key defensive players and he would make a difference there. St. Louis may have a harder time getting him back since they blew signing him already. I'm not sure about the Seahawks and what they might do. I would love your feedback on what team in the West might make a move for Atogwe or where he might make the best fit. Thanks.

Mike Sando: Every team in the league could conceivably have interest if the price tag were low enough. I don't expect any team in the division to pay significant money for Atogwe. The Rams have the greatest need and would make the most natural fit based on their familiarity with Atogwe. Every other team in the division has an established free safety. Seattle used the 14th overall choice for Earl Thomas, and Jordan Babineaux made strides last season. Arizona traded for Kerry Rhodes. The 49ers have Dashon Goldson and they used a second-round choice for another safety, Taylor Mays.

Outside the division, Atogwe would seem to fit nicely in Detroit, Miami, Dallas or Minnesota. Reports have removed the Dolphins, Cowboys and Vikings from consideration.


Mike from Capo Beach writes: Sando, love the blog and you do a great job of offering information and being objective. My question/comment for you is, do you think there is any correlation between the 49ers' rise to respectability and Eddie DeBartolo's 10-year exile.

Mike Sando: Thanks for the support. I think the evidence suggests the 49ers took a nosedive after DeBartolo's departure from the organization. It's only since this past season that the team appears on the rise. We could argue that it's taken the 49ers a decade to recover from DeBartolo's exit.


Sam from Los Angeles writes: Hey Mike,I'm a big fan of the blog and the 49ers. I noticed in the latest chat you said the Cardinals would have the most successful running game. I understand Beanie Wells has a bright future and Tim Hightower is a solid back, but how can you say that the 49ers, with an upgraded line and a commitment to the run, won't have the most successful running game?

Mike Sando: I can't say that definitively. There was some hedging going on during the chat when I wrote, "The Cardinals are probably in the best position in terms of having good run blockers up front and two young, recently productive backs. ... I'm very interested in seeing how much the 49ers' run game improves this season. Frank Gore has a chance to put up good numbers in that offense, but there are questions about the line as the team works rookies into the mix."

The door is certainly open for the 49ers to have the most successful run game in the division. Let's see how the offense operates with Alex Smith at quarterback. His emergence last season produced a style that left Gore on the outside for some games. I would expect the 49ers to remedy that issue in 2010, but let's see how well they make it happen.


Eric from Montreal writes: How come when teams hire a new coach, sometimes the argument is made that the coach doesn't have the player to run his offensive or defensive scheme and then takes 2-3 years changing the roster a releasing good players? In the end, should a coach try to find the best scheme that fits the current roster and maximize the talent at hand rather than spending 2-3 season changing the roster?

Mike Sando: Yes, a good coach and good coaching staff should be able to do this, at least to an extent. Some of the responsibility rests with ownership to hire a coach best suited to maximize the personnel on hand. At the same time, a coach needs to do what he knows. Sometimes an organization's culture must change and that isn't going to happen without significant personnel changes.

Beginning in 2007, the Cardinals' staff under Ken Whisenhunt did a good job blending existing talent and developing new talent without blowing up the roster.

More recently, LenDale White took criticism for squandering an opportunity with the Seahawks. Part of me also thought the Seahawks -- specifically coach Pete Carroll -- failed to reach a player whose career they were uniquely qualified to salvage.


Don from Phoenix writes: Now prove that roster turnover is a meaningful statistic -- i.e., go back five years for playoff teams and non-playoff teams.

Mike Sando: It's meaningful to the extent that it puts into perspective how much teams are changing. The quality of the changes stands independent of the changes themselves.
The latest NFC West chat transcript is available. Highlights below:
Dennis (San Jose): Mike, Do you think that Eddie DeBartolo's influence with Jed York is part of Scott McCloughan's possibly stepping down as 49er GM? Eddie was pretty demanding even of Bill Walsh in his quest for a constant winner, and Scott, even though he is a pretty good evaluator of talent in the early rounds, has not been that dynamic and forcefull in his handling of the QB situation and being active in trade situations.

Mike Sando: Highly doubtful. It just strikes me has highly unlikely that an NFL team would force out its general manager over philosophical differences a month before the draft. Seems more likely there would be some sort of personal reasons that could include anything from a family crisis to who knows what. Parting with a GM for any other reason would be too disruptive.

Ben (Portland): Sando, love the blog. I've got a couple of questions about the Whitehurst deal. Is the sky falling? Do you think we signed Zoltar because we didn't expect Bradford/Clausen at No. 6 or didn't want them? Is there any question that "The Hair" has better tools and mechanics than anybody we could have selected after the first round?

Mike Sando: My theory goes like this. The Seahawks saw Charlie Whitehurst and Kevin Kolb as the only veteran backups worth pursuing as potential starters via trade. They saw Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen as the only potential franchise quarterbacks in this draft. They weren't sure Bradford or Clausen would be there when they picked sixth overall. They probably thought Whitehurst had more "upside" than Derek Anderson. The Cardinals were also interested in Whitehurst over Anderson. Seattle wound up paying a premium for protection at the QB position.

Nick (San Diego): Hey Mike, I always enjoy your column. What do you think about the new FA vets added to the Rams? Any more on the Willie Parker acquisition? In your eyes, are the Rams a team (young) built for the future?

Mike Sando: Thanks, Nick. Hank Fraley should provide better depth inside on the line. Same for Fred Robbins on defense. I agree that the Rams needed to add some seasoning. Neither one of those guys is going to be an impact player. Same for A.J. Feeley. These are veteran role players. Every team needs them, but the Rams need front-line talent. I like some of the things they've done to address their offensive line. Emerging from this draft with a franchise quarterback would signal more clearly that the Rams are set up for the future. They remain in the early stages elsewhere on the roster. As for Willie Parker, he is visiting the Rams and the team does need a backup running back. I'm not sure what he has left. Injuries have been a problem. The move would not be particularly exciting, but Parker is probably a better option than the Samkon Gados and Kenneth Darbys of the world.

SprungOnSports (Long Island): Any word on where Joey Porter will end up? Arizona could really use him.

Mike Sando: I don't think the Cardinals are sweating this one too much, and neither is the rest of the league. Someone recently reached out to me and ripped the Cardinals for failing to pay Porter. I noted that 31 other teams had also failed to pay him. Porter has to know his role for his signing to make sense. His salary is going to define that role. I don't blame Arizona and the other NFL teams for proceeding with some caution. All the peripheral things with Porter are easier to handle if he's an elite player. The consensus right now, obviously, is that Porter is no longer an elite player even though he had 9.0 sacks last season.

Stay tuned on the 49ers front. The team would seemingly have to comment at some point.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider revisits the relationship between 49ers legends Bill Walsh and Eddie DeBartolo. Lynch: "Because of the way things ended, I don't think Eddie ever got the credit he deserved. He was a master at hiring the right people, chief among them, Walsh. Walsh was known in football circles at that time, but that was about it. All he had done up to that point, in the view of many, was take Stanford to the Blue Bonnet Bowl. But Eddie and Carmen Policy saw something in him."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee checks in with new 49ers defensive end Demetric Evans via ESPN 980 in Washington, D.C. Evans on Mike Singletary's impact during the free-agent recruiting process: "Yeah, for one he's a Christian guy and not only did he meet with me privately, he met with me in front of some of the defensive players. He was just cutting it clean and dry [with them] saying, 'Hey, we're bringing Demetric to compete for the starting job. Hey, I want you to meet him. Hey, this is Takeo Spikes, Walt Harris.' So that made me feel more welcome when the team knows why you're coming in there and to have somebody there introducing you to some of the guys. It was very personal."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic quotes Matt Leinart as saying he won't ask for a trade from the Cardinals even though Kurt Warner appears likely to start for the next two seasons.

Also from Somers: A jovial Anquan Boldin shrugged off questions about his future in Arizona. Boldin: "Letting my agent take care of it; I'm completely out of that. I'm enjoying the off-season, and I plan on continuing to do that. When it gets done, it will get done. I can't worry about when, or if, it's going to happen. The only thing I can do right now is take care of myself, continue to work out, stay in shape, enjoy the off-season. Because the season comes around quick."

Matthew Heuett of Seahawk Addicts explains why he thinks safety Brian Russell gets a bad rap. Some Seahawks fans I encounter do hold Russell responsible for a disproportionate number of problems on defense. The coaching staff obviously hasn't agreed with that sentiment, at least not to a strong enough degree to make a lineup change. My primary criticism of Russell relates to his tackling. Sometimes he hits guys with a shoulder, failing to wrap up, allowing receivers and running backs to gain extra yardage.

Free-agent fullback Mike Karney could draw interest from the Rams this week. The Rams are looking for a traditional fullback. The 258-pound Karney could fit the profile. Here is what Scouts Inc. once said about the recently released Saints fullback: "Lacks athleticism after the catch but will get upfield and provide a physical finish. As a lead blocker Karney is inconsistent with pad level on contact and will get upright at times. Has some pop but is not a consistently strong finisher. Does a good job taking advantage of off-balance defenders and he will unload on stationary targets. Doesn't have great adjustment skills and will look slow sifting through traffic to find LBs not in the hole. Struggles against quickness in pass protection, lacking good feet to slide-and-mirror, but will find a way to get a piece of blitzers. Overall, Karney is an effective starter who has size and plays with good effort."

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals are in uncharted territory, attempting to tighten their grip on the division race at midseason.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals are opening an important three-game tour of the NFC West. They face the Rams, 49ers and Seahawks.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune quotes Kurt Warner as saying he might be playing as well as he ever has.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says the Rams face a make-or-break game against the Cardinals.

Also from Korte: Grant Wistrom and other former Rams players will be in attendance when the team honors Dick Vermeil at the Edward Jones Dome.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sizes up the Rams' chances in the NFC West if they beat the Cardinals. Coach Jim Haslett hasn't said much to the players about it. They know.

Also from Thomas: Rams guard Richie Incognito and Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett don't like one another very much. They'll match up again in Week 9. Incognito is coming off his best game of the season.

More from Thomas: Both passing games have the edge in this matchup.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the Cardinals' ability to win without leaning on the ground game. Arizona ran the ball fairly well at times this season, particularly against the 49ers in the opener. But this is a pass-happy team right now.

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle says Mike Singletary is missing the point if he thinks intensity is the problem for the 49ers. As evidence, Ostler quotes the late Bill Walsh, who said execution is the key and intensity is overrated.

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle takes an in-depth look at Jed York's rise as 49ers owner. York says general manager Scot McCloughan is part of the team's long-term future, but the story doesn't say much about Singletary's future.

Also from FitzGerald: Eddie DeBartolo gives his nephew a vote of confidence as 49ers owner.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says it's easy finding Jeff Ulbrich's car at 49ers headquarters. It's the only Prius in the lot.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee gives the 49ers an "A" grade on special teams to this point, but the overall grade is a "D" after a 2-6 start.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat names Frank Gore and Patrick Willis as the 49ers' most valuable players after eight games. J.T. O'Sullivan and Manny Lawson are the biggest disappointments. The pass Seattle's Josh Wilson returned for a touchdown stands out as the worst play of the season so far.

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe polls players and coaches as to whether Singletary's approach has staying power. Former linebacker Chad Brown thinks a veteran team wouldn't be as receptive.

Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune quotes "Dumb and Dumber" in making a case for the Seahawks possibly earning a playoff berth this season.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune applauds Singletary's unconventional tactics, figuring the coach is in a lose-lose situation, so he might as well try something new.

Jose Romero of the Seattle Times previews the Eagles-Seahawks game, noting that the Eagles have been far more effective in turnover differential.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Singletary was exposed as a coach even before dropping his drawers at halftime. Specifically, the decision to go for it on fourth down before halftime backfired.

Also from O'Neil: The Seahawks need a boost from their home crowd to hang with the Eagles.

Mailbag: Edge the only one complaining

October, 23, 2008
10/23/08
5:45
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Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt from Scottsdale, Ariz., writes: Edgerrin James' comments about his role in the offense made the front page of ESPN.com today. Are comments like this going to be an issue for the Cardinals? Do you think James is more upset about his touches and statistics or more upset about how the media portrays his productivity?

Mike Sando: James' comments are irrelevant as long as the team wins and the offense produces. The Cardinals just beat the Bills and Cowboys. The offense is rolling pretty well.

James is right when he says the offense changed from the time he signed with the team, but such is life. Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Kurt Warner are the best players on that offense. James is splitting time with a rookie and James is the only one complaining. The rookie, Tim Hightower, is producing situationally and helping the team win.

To answer your question, James' comments seem to speak to the diminished role in the offense more than the portrayal.

(Read full post)

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