Around the NFC West: Leinart at crossroads?

September, 1, 2008
9/01/08
9:07
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic examines the Cardinals' handling of Matt Leinart since Ken Whisenhunt arrived as head coach. He describes Leinart's benching to start the season as a potentially pivotal moment while acknowledging Leinart still might become the starter at some point this season.

Also from Somers: Arizona expects to make few roster moves this week. The team is relatively healthy and deeper than it's been in the past.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the clock is ticking for 49ers coach Mike Nolan. A big-picture story about Nolan wouldn't be complete without a dig at former offensive coordinator Jim Hostler, who -- all together now -- wasn't ready for the job. Nolan: "This is not a 'Bash Jim' thing. But Jim was just not ready. And that was a poor decision on my part. ... Last year with the offense was really tough. It was tough on everybody. And I think I knew exactly what was needed. And I wanted to find that. And I think Mike [Martz] is what we needed." Other head coaches generally do not mention fired underlings by name.

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers aren't asking their rookie draft choices to contribute in a big way immediately.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News touches on Ahmad Brooks' troubled past. The 49ers signed Brooks after Cincinnati released the linebacker. Brown: "He was kicked off the Virginia football team before his senior season after frequent trouble with coach Al Groh, and he was accused of punching a woman in the face in northern Kentucky in April."

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News sees a couple of Bay Area franchises playing for the short term: "I hate to mention that short-term fixes almost never produce sustained NFL success, but it's too late to change anything now. So, let's do a rundown of the protagonists."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett hasn't decided which defensive player will wear the radio headset this season. Middle linebacker Will Witherspoon is the leading candidate. "But Haslett said he might also signal in plays by hand and have secondary coach Ron Milus use the coach-to-defense headset to talk to the secondary."

Also from Thomas: Trent Green has been around a long, long time. He was the Post-Dispatch All-Metro quarterback as a high school player ... in 1987.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer assesses the impact of suspensions to Seattle defensive players Jordan Babineaux and Rocky Bernard. Second-year corner Josh Wilson and veteran defensive tackle Craig Terrill will have to step up. The Seahawks think Wilson can be an outstanding defender against slot receivers.

Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News says the Bills have turned their attention to the Seahawks, who visit in Week 1. The Bills remain without holdout left tackle Jason Peters. Their quarterback, Trent Edwards, remains slowed by injury.

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