NFC West: Steve Fairchild
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch implores Rams fans to continue buying tickets while majority owner Chip Rosenbloom tries to sell the team. Miklasz: "That way, no Rams owner will have an excuse to pull the team out of here because of a lack of support. And with sellout crowds filing into home games, perhaps this will rally the business community and motivate potential buyers from the St. Louis area." Miklasz defends Rosenbloom's decision to sell the team based on financial pressures wrought by estate taxes.
Also from Miklasz: a question-and-answer session covering key issues relating to a potential Rams sale. Miklasz: "Now that Rosenbloom and [sister Lucia] Rodriguez have enlisted Goldman Sachs to find a buyer, it's obvious they're serious about selling the team. But that realization should be helpful to the St. Louis cause. With the Rams on the block, I believe it will motivate a local buyer [or group] to mobilize and come forward to save the team."
Howard Balzer of insidestl.com checks in with Rams quarterback Marc Bulger, who longs for stability in the organization. Balzer: "It has been a whirlwind for Bulger since the 2005 season, when head coach Mike Martz became ill and Steve Fairchild took over as offensive coordinator. Since then, the coordinating and play-calling has gone from Scott Linehan to Greg Olson, back to Linehan, and then Al Saunders. For those counting, including this year, that's seven changes in five seasons."
Larry Weisman of USA Today takes a comprehensive look at the 49ers and concludes that they can contend for the NFC West title in 2009. Weisman: "The NFC West is hardly a powerhouse division, so the 49ers will look to make a rapid move upward, just as the Arizona Cardinals did a year ago. The 49ers need to settle on a quarterback, open up their passing game a bit with Crabtree and force more turnovers on defense."
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News recognizes former 49ers offensive lineman Randy Cross for his service through Ronald McDonald House at Stanford. Cross: "I've met 10-year-old patients at the house that are more mature than a lot of NFL players. They have had to deal with real severe, serious life-and-death situations. It makes you smile and tears your heart out at the same time. And that's the reason I have stayed involved."
Doug Farrar of Smarter Stats on washingtonpost.com sizes up first-round choices in the NFC West, concluding that the Cardinals' Chris Wells fits the profile of a physical back. Farrar: "The problem is the amount of time Wells spent in the trainer's room, especially in his last two seasons, due to a variety of ankle, hamstring, foot, and thumb injuries."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic expects the Cardinals to reach agreement on a contract extension for Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson. Somers: "He's attending the voluntary workouts and says and does all the right things in the organization's view. The Cardinals would send a strong message to other players by re-signing Wilson soon. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that the guy is pretty good and in his prime."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com checks in with new Seahawks fullback Justin Griffith. Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp: "Justin has a good feel for the fullback position in our offense, especially in the run game." Griffith says he has recovered from the knee injury he suffered with the Raiders. Griffith sees himself as a mentor for second-year fullback Owen Schmitt and others who are new to Knapp's offense.