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NFC Whispers

Cardinals expecting more from Wells in 2011

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By PFW staff

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

• Cardinals GM Rod Graves said that the team is satisfied with former first-round RB Beanie Wells — up to a point. "We are satisfied with him, but we're looking for more from Beanie. His injuries have been legitimate injuries, but we are expecting he is going to make an even larger contribution to our football team. Beanie is a very talented player, and I think we're fortunate to have both him and Tim Hightower and LaRod Stephens-Howling. "He (Wells) has the talent to be an every-down player, and we expect his contributions are going to be felt even more this season."

• We hear the Seahawks are looking forward to getting a lot more production next season from WR Isaiah Stanback, who was re-signed earlier this week along with fellow free agent Roy Lewis. "They really like his versatility," one team source told PFW at the Combine. "He can return kicks, get involved in the Wildcat and play receiver. He's the one guy I see (at team headquarters) just about every day. They were really intrigued by him before he suffered an Achilles injury in training camp."

• Will Frank Gore continue to be the Niners "bell cow," which is how he was frequently described during the Mike Singletary regime? "Frank is definitely a bell cow," Niners GM Trent Baalke said at the Combine. "He's a heck of a football player, and a heck of a young man. Coach (Jim Harbaugh) has come out and said we're going to take every advantage in using Frank, like we have over the years. But we're also going to develop some young guys. We got Anthony Dixon, who we're high on. And obviously we're going to look to supplement that position moving forward, whether it's through free agency or the draft or a potential trade. One of those three scenarios is going to land us another running back."

• Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo said at the Combine that WR Donnie Avery was doing well in terms of his rehab from knee surgery. "Health-wise? He's having a great rehab," Spagnuolo said. "Reggie Scott, our trainer, and all his assistants have done a tremendous job during the offseason with getting these guys ready. And he looks great. He's kind of taken it to a new level — I'm talking about Donnie. Just with his weight lifting and his training and his running around. He's at a good point right now."

• Eagles GM Howie Roseman spoke about the team's needs on the offensive line, which allowed 49 sacks last season. With the switch to OL coach Howard Mudd, there could be some new personnel. Andy Reid typically has favored bigger, stronger offensive linemen, but Mudd traditionally has favored quickness. Roseman spoke about how that affects the Eagles' approach going forward. "In our role as personnel people, we want to make sure we get the best talent on the offensive line," Roseman said. "We spent some time with Howard as a personnel staff, just in terms of what he's looking for, maybe the differences in some of the guys that he's more comfortable with. I think it was valuable time. Obviously, he's got a lot of years of learning offensive line."

• Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett talked about WR Dez Bryant's rehab on Thursday at the Scouting Combine: "Dez has made progress. He's going through his rehab, and it's been a positive experience for him. We have great people at the Cowboys who take him through that stuff, and he's getting better." Garrett added that new WR coach Jimmy Robinson should be a big influence on Bryant's development. "Dez loves to play football," Garrett said. "He's got great passion for the game and great enthusiasm for the game. That's really one of the things we love about him. We're going to continue to try and give him direction as a coaching staff, and (Robinson) will be a big part of that

• Bears GM Jerry Angelo wasn't ready to announce any roster moves when he met with reporters at the Combine on Friday, but there could be some news on that front soon. Angelo said any decisions regarding players on the roster will be made next week. It's not clear if the speculation regarding DT Tommie Harris, who is coming off the least productive season of his career, will be put to rest at that time. Harris could be cut if he doesn't agree to a pay cut. He's due a $2.5 million roster bonus in June, in addition to his $2.3 million base salary in 2011.

• Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier told PFW he envisions CB Chris Cook as strictly a right corner. "Not that we don't like him in the slot," Frazier said. "It's just that we think he's best (outside)." Frazier said Cook's knee injuries made it tough for him to evaluate how well Cook played, but he thought he'd start fresh, ready for next season.

• Look for the Packers to officially announce a new contract for head coach Mike McCarthy in the not-too-distant future.

• Packers GM Ted Thompson was asked at the Combine about the future of QB Matt Flynn, who many league observers believe could be highly coveted on the trade market — at whatever point there IS a trade market. "His future is to be on our team," Thompson said. "That's our plan right now. Again, that would be some sort of hypothetical that some team would call and do this and that. We don't deal in those kinds of things. We assume he's going to be on our team."

• The Saints have two tight ends under contract for 2011 — Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lorenzen — following the release of Jeremy Shockey, and we hear re-signing TE David Thomas will be a priority for the team this offseason. Thomas, who made 65 catches over the past two seasons with the Saints, is due to become an unrestricted free agent.

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