Here are the latest Whispers we're hearing from our sources throughout the NFC:
• While it’s likely rookie WR Michael Floyd will get his fair share of playing time as the Cardinals’ season winds down, we hear the first-round pick’s continued lapses in concentration have become real cause for concern. Floyd was demoted back to fourth string behind Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and Early Doucet in the Week 11 loss to the Falcons after frustrating head coach Ken Whisenhunt in a couple of instances. “He didn’t finish a route right, which cost the Cardinals a first down, and 'Whiz' had a long talk with him,” said a team insider. “Then he proceeded to line up wrong on another play. Guys who keep making mistakes aren’t going to play, as Whiz is holding everybody accountable.”
• Only a few weeks ago, it appeared that it was only a matter of time until Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray’s foot injury healed. Now, it’s not such a clear prognosis. Owner Jerry Jones, who has trouble holding his poker face when it comes to disappointing injuries, said of Murray after the loss to the Redskins: “We can’t get a prognosis that another week’s rest will do anything. It’s all depending on how he pushes off.” Murray’s progress has been slow, only seeing the practice field for rehab purposes, and his return to the field is far from guaranteed in Week 13 against the Eagles.
• Cardinals RB Beanie Wells doesn’t believe it will take long before he can resume a full workload after missing seven games with a turf-toe injury and a sore knee. “Not at all,” Wells said. “I think I’m capable of a full workload. The thing is, I always look at it like I’ve been playing football since I was six years old and that’s one thing I don’t forget how to do. I just take it for what it is. I’ve been practicing for two weeks, I’m feeling good and getting a lot of reps.”
• The rumor that the University of Tennessee could have its sights set on Rams head coach and former Titans head coach Jeff Fisher after canning Derek Dooley is certainly an eyebrow-raiser. But the way we hear it, there’s no way Fisher, who has never coached in the college ranks, is ready to walk away from a gig that makes him among the NFL’s highest-paid head coaches. But another intriguing rumor involving an NFC West coach that we hear has a lot more substance is the prospect of Niners offensive coordinator Greg Roman becoming the head coach at Cal, where he would replace the fired Jeff Tedford.
• Rams assistant head coach Dave McGinnis isn’t about to get too down on rookie CB Trumaine Johnson, who had some glitches against the Jets in Week 11 after replacing Bradley Fletcher as the team’s third corner behind Cortland Finnegan and fellow rookie Janoris Jenkins. “If you play corner in this league, there’s going to be glitches for now and forever,” McGinnis said. “He’s an athletic corner and we’re extremely excited about his future.”
• Of the Seahawks players due to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, team sources tell us the most likely to be re-signed would probably be DE Jason Jones. “He’s missed some time, and his numbers aren’t great,” said one daily team observer of the former Titan. “But his length and leverage has really opened up opportunities for other players in the nickel defense.”
• Injuries have sidetracked Bears WR Alshon Jeffery in his rookie year, but we hear the team felt he was coming along very well before he broke his hand in Week Five. Jeffery, who impressed his teammates and coaches with his focus, missed the next four games after the Bears returned from a Week Six bye, but returned in Week 11, only to suffer a right knee injury in the game, which he underwent surgery to repair this past week. The Bears said he will miss the next 2-4 weeks. WR Brandon Marshall, who has shown great interest in Jeffery’s development, said he plans to work with Jeffery in Florida in the offseason to help him build strength.
• We hear Packers CB Sam Shields is a good bet to miss a couple more games due to the high-ankle sprain he suffered in the Week Six game at Houston.
• PK Kai Forbath looked like just another Redskins midseason addition at the position that they’ve had over the years when his name appeared on the transactions: a shot in the dark at a spot that has given them worlds of trouble in recent times. But Forbath now is 10-for-10 on field-goal attempts and has been a breath of fresh air compared to past kickers who have appeared to focus on the minutia and everything that was going on around them. Our sources say that Forbath has been extremely confident and focused and that it has helped lead to the team’s effectiveness on field-goal attempts. Yes, team — no flaws in execution of snap, hold or blocking through the entire process.