Following are a number of whispers we've been hearing from around the NFC:
• Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo's curious decision to deactivate first-round draft pick Robert Quinn for the season opener against the Eagles did not go over well at all with the team's fan base. "He gave his reasons, but I didn't buy them at all," said one team source. "Especially against a passing team like Philly with a suspect offensive line, I would have thought he (Quinn) would play. He hasn't been destroying people by any means, but he has shown some real flashes."
• Parys Haralson thinks the sky's the limit for fellow starting Niners OLB Ahmad Brooks. "Ahmad, man, he has all the talent in the world," Haralson told PFW. "He's really still learning the position after first coming into the league as a middle linebacker. He has the potential to be one of the league's biggest stars. It's hard to stop him, as big and fast as he is."
• Rookie TE Rob Housler is currently buried on the Cardinals' depth chart, listed fourth at tight end behind Todd Heap, Jeff King and Jim Dray. But team sources wouldn't be surprised if the third-round draft pick snuck into the mix sooner than later. "He won't get a lot of snaps initially as long as Heap and King stay healthy," one source said of Housler. "But he is a legitimate receiving threat with really good hands."
• It appears the Seahawks will be sticking with CFL product Brandon Browner as the starter on the right corner over Walter Thurmond, who missed the entire training camp with a high ankle sprain. "Pete (Carroll) loves him," said one source on the scene. "He (Browner) is really big and physical."
• The Cowboys remain in the market for an offensive lineman, considering their health and lack of depth. Expect them to monitor the wires very carefully at this position in the next few weeks.
• The Eagles still think that first-round OG Danny Watkins, who went from starter to inactive in Week One, has a bright future. He has acknowledged that missing the first five days of training camp in the midst of contract negotiations was precious time he would have loved to have back.
• One fallback plans if recently signed WR Brandon Stokley doesn't work out with the Giants: Rookie RB Da'Rel Scott reportedly has been running pass patterns as a slot receiver, as the team seeks a way to get his speed on the field.
• The Vikings might be stuck with OLT Charlie Johnson. Their next options are Patrick Brown and DeMarcus Love, neither of whom appears to be ready. Johnson can handle speed rushers but struggles badly with power. It's likely the team will just have to find ways (slanting protection, using backs and tight ends to help) to give him a hand.
• The word out of Green Bay is that second-year OLB Frank Zombo, who is currently sidelined with a broken shoulder blade, is a lot closer to returning to action than one might suspect. Zombo, a pleasant surprise as an undrafted rookie a year ago, told team sources that he's not far from being ready to go full tilt again. Look for him to be back in the mix perhaps as soon as the Week Four game against Denver.
• Lions RB Jahvid Best received a career-high 21 carries in the season opener at Tampa Bay, and though he gained just 72 yards, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan liked what he did with the opportunities he received. "That was a professional football game by him," Linehan said. "He's going to have bigger gains and bigger days, but that was a kind of day where he had to grind it out for us. The thing I like is that there were a couple plays where he got out of some bad looks or bad situations and avoided some lost-yardage plays." Six of Best's carries came after Detroit built a second-half lead and was trying to run clock, which helps explain the uptick in carries, a daily team observer suggested.
• Lance Louis never regained the starting job at right guard after he went down with an injury early last season, but sources expect a different outcome for Louis when he recovers from the ankle injury he suffered in Week One vs. the Falcons. Offensive line coach Mike Tice was very impressed with Louis' play before he left in the second quarter of the Bears' win over Atlanta. Chris Spencer, who is filling in for Louis, is expected to resume backing up at center and guard when Louis returns.
• Panthers MLB Jon Beason underwent surgery Sept. 16 to repair the Achilles tendon tear he suffered in Week One, and he won't play again this season. There were some questions about whether the injury could threaten his career. Dr. Alexis Colvin said the recovery process for Beason will be lengthy, but Colvin expects Beason will be able to return from it. Colvin, an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine expert at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine's department of orthopaedics, said athletes coming off a torn Achilles usually do not start training again until three months after surgery. "I think in a year he should be able to come back at a similar level, but it's a case-by-case basis, too," Colvin said. "Even though it's a relatively straightforward injury, there's always potential that for him, for some reason, the tendon doesn't heal as well. ... It's not like a cartilage defect in the knee or something where we know that down the road it's going to cause problems. In general, people seem to recover pretty well from Achilles tendon repairs."
• Jason Snelling is the Falcons' primary third-down back and top backup to Michael Turner, but rookie Jacquizz Rodgers could push to take over the third-down duties this season when there are fewer doubts about his grasp of the offense. The Falcons would like to see Rodgers, a fifth-round pick this year, in that role. He's just not ready for it yet — the lockout-shortened offseason is a big part of the reason why, we hear.