Here are the latest Whispers we're hearing from our sources throughout the NFC:
• Our Rams sources were surprised by the disclosure during the telecast of the Rams-Vikings game that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s name was mentioned as a potential head-coaching candidate. “I certainly hadn’t heard anything like that,” one team insider told PFW. “I mean, the Rams’ numbers aren’t great. But I thought the same thing about (former Rams offensive coordinator) Pat Shurmur (who became the Browns’ head coach after a less-than-spectacular stint with St. Louis and who, like Schottenheimer, is a client of agent Bob LaMonte), and there could be a lot of openings. I know Jacksonville was interested in Brian at one point.”
• While it’s possible recently signed Cardinals QB Brian Hoyer could be activated for a game before the season ends, we hear the team decided to take a flier on the ex-Patriot with an eye more toward the 2013 season, and that it was unlikely Hoyer would see any action this season. Said one team insider: “They’re going to want to keep a young QB around that doesn’t cost too much, and he seems to fill the bill.”
• We hear an X-factor worth keeping an eye on in the Packers’ TE strategy after this season is undrafted rookie free agent Brandon Bostick. Daily team observers tell us the former college wide receiver and basketball player (Newberry, S.C.), who has been lying low on the practice squad, really has eye-opening potential as a downfield weapon.
• Don’t be surprised if the Buccaneers are taking a hard look at the top tight ends available in next year’s draft. The team believes that TE Luke Stocker, a fourth-round pick in 2011, is at best a complementary piece for them. Also, veteran Dallas Clark’s one-year deal is up this offseason and he is not a lock to return.
• The Bears gave recently re-signed RB Kahlil Bell looks in goal-line situations with the first-team offense in training camp, and the team is apparently leaning toward making him their short-yardage and goal-line specialist with RB Michael Bush on injured reserve. The Bears simply do not have much faith that starting RB Matt Forté will get the job done in those situations.
• There was only one player Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt mentioned by name when asked this week if he cares much about which Saints earn Pro Bowl nods, and it was not QB Drew Brees. Vitt said he hopes hardworking P Thomas Morstead makes the NFC squad. It will be a bit of an upset if he does not get the nod — Morstead is on pace to set a single-season record for net punting average.
• The Cowboys knew last season that their safety problems took a backseat to others’, but we hear they are going to make addressing the position something of a priority this offseason.
• Vikings assistant GM George Paton, who interviewed for the Rams’ GM job that eventually went to Les Snead, is a candidate for other jobs this offseason. He’s considered extremely bright and has done a variety of duties for the Vikings, taking a promotion last year.