Here are several whispers we've been hearing from around the NFC West:
Even though Brandon Keith has had his share of struggles as the starting right tackle for the Cardinals, we hear the team has no intention of demoting him in favor of Jeremy Bridges any time soon. "They're choosing to be very patient with him," said one team insider of Keith. "They love his run blocking. But he has struggled in pass protection. A consistent problem is that he's been just a little slow coming off the ball."
While Seahawks rookie OLT Russell Okung drew rave reviews in his second NFL game in Chicago, as he was matched up against five-time Pro Bowler Julius Peppers, daily team observers also noticed a big improvement in ORT Sean Locklear. "I think his time off due to his knee injury and the challenge of Tyler Polumbus picked up his game," said one team insider.
An overlooked key to the improvement in the Rams' defensive line this season is D-line coach Brendan Daly. "He's a young guy like us who treats us like equals, and we all respond to that," Rams DLE Chris Long told PFW. "He's a real players' coach who keeps the lines of communication open. We all feel like we can bounce stuff off him, and he's always very receptive to our ideas."
Will the Niners continue to use DLT Isaac Sopoaga as a fullback a la former Bears DT William "Refrigerator" Perry, as they did in their Week Six win over Oakland? "I think so, in the right situations," said one team insider. "You know, fullback was his first position. So he has experience there. He could barely contain himself against the Raiders."