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NFC Whispers

Gibson may be odd man out in Rams' WR corps

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Posted Oct. 22, 2011 @ 7:36 p.m. ET
By PFW staff

Following are some whispers we're hearing from around the NFC:

• With Brandon Lloyd and Mark Clayton entering the Rams' WR fray, the consensus is the odd man out in the team's receiving corps is probably Brandon Gibson, who had been starting all season long. "But he'd be no more than a No. 4 receiver on most teams," said one daily team observer.

• We hear Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh is not just blowing smoke when he says re-signing free-agent-to-be Josh Morgan, who suffered a season-ending leg injury against Tampa Bay, is a top priority. "He's really popular," said one team source of Morgan. "Half the team gathered around him when he went down in the Tampa game. He's not Calvin Johnson, but he blocks downfield extremely well, can go over the middle and is very unselfish. He's the No. 2 or No. 3 guy moving forward."

• Our sources in Seattle tell us DE Anthony Hargrove, a player with a well-documented checkered past, has been a pleasant surprise. "They're really happy with him," said one source of Hargrove, who recorded a key safety in the Seahawks' upset win over the Giants. "They had their doubts, but he's playing very well for them and is just happy to be able to be still playing."

• There's a growing feeling among many close Cardinals observers that the team should be playing young OLBs O'Brien Schofield and Sam Acho a lot more in favor of aging starters Joey Porter and Clark Haggans. "I'm surprised they haven't been worked more into the mix," said one team insider. "They both have good pass-rush potential, and Schofield has very good speed."

• The Giants plan to reduce the number of snaps for DE Jason Pierre-Paul, but it has nothing to do with how he has played. In fact, the Giants believe Pierre-Paul is playing at a Pro Bowl level but that he might benefit from about 10 fewer snaps per game so that he remains fresh in fourth quarters.

• The Eagles face a question of what to do with Todd Herremans once OLT Jason Peters returns, as expected, after the bye. Herremans could go back to right tackle, where he was playing previously, or to left guard, the position he had played the past several years. One source indicated that Herremans might be better off replacing Evan Mathis at left guard, provided that ORT Winston Justice shows some of his 2009 form again.

• With the release of Dwayne Harris, the Cowboys are down to four of their draft picks from this year still on the roster, which has raised some concerns around the team, we hear, regarding its scouting process. It is not expected to lead to any major upheaval on the staff, but the need for better results has become clear.

• There is some concern about new Redskins C Erik Cook, who is tall and angular and might have some trouble staying down on his blocks. At 6-foot-6, Cook is believed to be the tallest center in the NFL in the past few seasons, and his experience is extremely limited. The position had been a bedrock for the team with Casey Rabach previously, but Cook's insertion leaves it very questionable until proven otherwise.

• Would Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie, who reportedly has been recommended for the Raiders' GM job by a group of consultants, including former Packers GM Ron Wolf, make a move to Oakland? Our Packers sources tell us he probably would, even though we're told he and his family love the small-town lifestyle in Green Bay. We also hear the fact the Raiders currently have no draft picks in the first four rounds of the 2011 draft wouldn't scare McKenzie away from the GM post in Oakland.

• It appears Chris Harris, who requested a trade a day before the Oct. 18 trade deadline, will remain with the Bears until at least the end of this season, when his contract expires. While Harris was very unhappy with the decision to replace him with Major Wright in the starting lineup heading into Week Six, we hear the team is confident Harris will not become a problem in the locker room, and he might be starting again before long — perhaps as early as Week Seven. Wright is dealing with a hip injury.

• The Lions have been tougher vs. the pass in 2011 than they were a season ago, on both a yards-per-game and a yards-per-play basis. They are also recording more interceptions, with CB Chris Houston leading the club with three (already a career high). Houston is also on pace to a set a career high in passes defensed. Said Lions head coach Jim Schwartz leading up to Week Seven, according to the club: "He's done a great job of playing the ball down the field, and if you were going to put a weakness on him from early in his career, it probably would have been that. He'd get guys covered but couldn't make a play on the ball, and he's worked extremely hard on it."

• The Saints never gave any indication that C Olin Kreutz would be benched for performance prior to his decision to leave the team this week. Yet, our sources say they would not have been surprised if the team had decided to demote him in favor of Brian de la Puente down the line had Kreutz continued playing. With a strong preseason and two starts under his belt in place of Kreutz, who missed Weeks Four and Five with an injury, the Saints are comfortable with de la Puente as their top center. Kreutz announced he was leaving the team on Oct. 21.

• We hear the Saints have not been happy with the production of their running game in the past couple of games, but the team's frustration is not directed at any one running back in particular. The Saints like their rushing trio — Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas — and they're healthy, which means Chris Ivory will have a hard time carving out a role and getting on the field if they activate him from the PUP list. Ivory (foot, hernia surgery) is eligible to be activated, but getting him back isn't a top concern for the Saints.

• The Panthers' defense is struggling without injured LBs Jon Beason and Thomas Davis, but we hear Carolina is happy with the performance of its starting safeties, Charles Godfrey and Sherrod Martin. Martin has always been physical, but a source said Ron Rivera and his staff have helped him become more disciplined. Thus, he has become a steadier player.

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