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Mental mistakes made Rodgers-Cromartie expendable

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By PFW staff

Following are whispers we've been hearing from around the NFC:

• While CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was considered to be a fun-loving, popular player who was hard not to like, we hear his mental issues made it easier for the Cardinals to justify the trade that sent him to Philadelphia as part of the deal for new starting QB Kevin Kolb. "He was very high-maintenance," one team insider said. "His attention span was very short, and he did not study enough. The team admits that, when he was on his game, he was really good. But two years down the road, was he a guy they were willing to pay $10 million a year? It turned out they didn't think so."

• The early absence of RB Frank Gore (holdout) and WR Michael Crabtree (foot injury) in the Niners' training camp might have caused a bigger stir. But there's no doubt 2010 starting C David Baas' surprise signing with the Giants was considered at least an equally devastating setback. "No question," one daily team observer said. "Baas really made a name for himself settling in so quickly at center last season. He was built low to the ground and was extremely smart." For now, we hear the front-runner to replace Baas is probably Adam Snyder, even though he had never played center before volunteering to do so in player-only workouts this offseason.

• Our Seahawks sources tell us that being able to play closer to home were key factors behind the free-agent defections of PK Olindo Mare and LB Will Herring to the Panthers and Saints, respectively. "Plus, Herring, who they're going to miss, is apparently going to get a chance to start in New Orleans," one team insider said.

• Redskins sources tell us that team officials quietly were thrilled that they were able to find takers for QB Donovan McNabb and DT Albert Haynesworth, even if the compensation didn't come close to matching what the team paid for them individually. The plan has been to rebuild with more draft picks, not fewer as with previous Redskins regimes, so adding picks for no-longer useful players is sound business in their eyes.

• Our Giants observers expect recently signed veteran P Steve Weatherford to give Matt Dodge, the second-year punter who had a dodgy first season, a run and ultimately to beat him out. The Giants believe they have a playoff-caliber roster and don't want the punting game, like last season, to be the reason they miss the postseason for a third straight year.

• The Eagles are pleased with their addition of QB Vince Young, who could be a great investment, but he got off to a bit of a rough start as he waited to practice with the team. First, he made comments about looking forward to "competing" with Michael Vick, and then later referred to the Eagles as a "Dream Team" following all of their free-agent signings. Sources say head coach Andy Reid wasn't too thrilled when he heard Young's comments.

• With Cowboys RBs Tashard Choice and DeMarco Murray both coming back from injuries and everyone on the depth chart moving up a spot with the release of Marion Barber, we hear that Lonyae Miller, who has done a nice job early in camp, will have a chance to make the roster if he keeps it up.

• Don't be stunned if Packers GM Ted Thompson remains true to form and announces a new long-term deal in the not-too-distant future for one or two of the five key Packers entering their contract year (RB Ryan Grant, TE Jermichael Finley, OG Josh Sitton, WR Jordy Nelson and backup QB Matt Flynn). The best guess among team insiders is that Sitton is likely at the top of Thompson's list.

• We hear Packers undrafted rookie OL Ray Dominguez, a 6-4, 337-pounder who played both tackle and guard at Arkansas, is widely considered a bona fide fourth-round talent who probably hurt his stock with a lackluster peformance at this year's NFL Scouting Combine in February.

• The Vikings' flirtations with Saints OLT Jermon Bushrod didn't thrill Vikings incumbent Bryant McKinnie, who had held down that position for several seasons, we hear. Although the Vikings couldn't land Bushrod, their interest in him sent a message about what they thought about McKinnie, whom they cut on Aug. 2.

• The Lions' depth at linebacker and cornerback has improved. They addressed their LB corps in a major way in free agency, adding former Jaguars OLB Justin Durant and former Titans LB Stephen Tulloch. Durant and Tulloch project as starters with holdover DeAndre Levy, who notched 72 tackles a season ago. The Lions are also stronger at corner after the addition of Eric Wright and return of Chris Houston.

• We hear the Saints' front office believed it pulled off a coup by finding a team willing to trade for Reggie Bush. The expectation heading into free agency was that Bush would be cut if his agent and the Saints couldn't agree on the terms of a restructured contract. Being compensated for his departure in a deal with the Dolphins and signing Darren Sproles to play a role similar to Bush's left the Saints more than satisfied. While the Saints had expressed a desire to keep Bush as long as he played at their price, it was telling of the quickly cooling relationship between Bush and the team that QB Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton didn't go out of their way to praise him following the trade.

• The Saints weren't ready to give second-year OT Charles Brown a chance to start this season, but the team still thinks he can become a quality starter in the near future. "We feel like he has that type of potential and ability," head coach Sean Payton said.

• We're hearing the training-camp competition to win the starting job at right tackle for the Buccaneers is a dead heat. Jeremy Trueblood and James Lee both have a shot to get the nod.

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