Here are some whispers we've been hearing recently from around the NFC West:
• While Rams fans have come down a lot harder on starting OGs Jacob Bell and Adam Goldberg, daily team observers tell us that starting C Jason Brown's play has also left a lot to be desired and has shown a marked decline this season. "He is not having a very good year," said one team insider. "He hasn't been terrible, but in general he's had a pretty tough time staying with his blocks." Our sources believe Bell has been the most consistent of the Rams' three starting interior linemen.
• Our Cardinals sources tell us the arrow appears to be pointing up for both first-round rookie NT Dan Williams and second-round ILB Daryl Washington. "They're really encouraged by Williams, who has been playing more lately and looking better," said one team source. "Washington has been better than in his earlier stint in the starting lineup, but he still has trouble getting off blocks."
• While the prospect of Niners OLB Manny Lawson remaining with the team after this season has grown slimmer, we hear Travis LaBoy, a free-agent addition who registered five sacks before recently going on injured reserve, is a good bet to be back. "I always liked to have him as a young buck when he first came out," said Niners defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. "I think, with more time and more reps, he'll become a pretty good player."
• Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told our sources that, contrary to recent rumors, king-sized OL Stacy Andrews, who recently lost his starting ORG job when Chester Pitts stepped in at left guard and Mike Gibson moved to the right side, still figures in the team's plans for next season, but as a tackle, not a guard.