Here are some whispers we've been hearing from around the NFC West recently:
• In a season full of disappointments for the Niners, the subpar play of second-round draft pick Taylor Mays, who failed to hang on to the starting SS job after Michael Lewis split the scene, is worth noting. "He actually regressed," said one daily team observer. "He fell back into bad habits and was not anything close to the center-fielder type they hoped he would be."
• While more than a few Cardinals followers believe the hiring of an offensive coordinator might not be a bad idea, we hear head coach Ken Whisenhunt feels differently and remains comfortable with his offensive staff. That said, don't be surprised if Whisenhunt turns more of the play-calling duties over to passing-game coordinator Mike Miller in 2011, if not all of them.
• It appears the local perception of Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo was tarnished a bit by his decision to fire longtime equipment man Todd Hewitt. There were many in St. Louis who accused Spagnuolo of micromanaging to an extreme with this move, with some indicating they would have much preferred for him to be focusing on more pressing matters.
• The buzz caused by Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard TD run in Seattle's wild-card upset of the Saints lingers. "It looked like he was stopped, but the crescendo just kept increasing with every broken tackle," one source on the scene told PFW of a run that actually caused earthquake-like tremors. "And then when he did the straight-arm (of Saints CB Tracy Porter), the stadium just totally erupted."