Here are the latest Whispers we're hearing from our sources throughout the NFC:
• There has been speculation in the Bay Area that a “disconnect” between 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and free-agent addition Brandon Jacobs is the reason why Jacobs has yet to see the time of day on the playing field in a Niners uniform. But the way we hear it, it’s much more a case of the Niners simply being extremely content with the two-fisted punch being delivered so effectively by fellow RBs Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. While it’s not a given, as long as Gore and Hunter stay healthy, our sources expect Jacobs to continue being a virtual nonfactor in the Niners' offense.
• Could Cardinals PK Jay Feely’s erratic kicking lately have the team possibly thinking about making a change? Team sources tell us there was a Josh Brown sighting at Cardinals headquarters early in the week. Brown was the division-rival Rams’ longtime placekicker before rookie Greg Zuerlein burst onto the scene.
• The effectiveness of the Bears’ pass rush has taken a great deal of pressure off the team’s back seven, but we hear the coaching staff has become more trusting of FS Chris Conte and SS Major Wright, especially in blitz packages, since the start of the season. Wright and Conte have brought stability to a position that was a revolving door for much of last season. “You have to build trust and (Conte and I) have been doing it (since) training camp, showing the coaches we can do this,” said Wright, who already has as many interceptions (three) and tackles for loss (two) as he did all of last season. “… We can go after the ball.”
• Third-year WR Armanti Edwards’ future with the Panthers is in doubt as the team gets closer to making a decision on WR David Gettis, who could be activated from the PUP list heading into Week Nine. Edwards made the first catch of his career in Week Four, but that is the only time he has been targeted with a pass all season. He has not returned a punt and has returned only one kickoff this season despite the team’s benching of rookie RS Joe Adams. Carolina will have to clear a spot to make room for Gettis on the 53-man roster and Edwards appears as expendable as ever.
• The loss of CB Chris Cook is a huge blow to the Vikings, who now have been exposed in the secondary two of the past three games. Cook was placed on injured reserve (with a designation to return) after appearing to rise to the level he was at pre-injury last season. Now what do the Vikings do? It appears rookie Josh Robinson will take Cook’s spot with A.J. Jefferson at nickel and Marcus Sherels at dime.
• One reason we hear the Eagles did not previously turn to rookie QB Nick Foles is that they were worried about putting him behind the offensive line as it has stood. Foles was beat up behind an inexperienced line his senior year at Arizona, and it affected his play.
• Our Rams sources are starting to think OLT Rodger Saffold, still on the mend from a knee injury, could be moved to left guard next season. As for newly acquired ex-Bear and former first-round draft pick Chris Williams, who has played every position but center at the pro level, we hear it remains to be seen exactly where he will play for the Rams. Word is the big reason Williams chose the Rams over a couple of suitors, including the division-rival Cardinals, was head coach Jeff Fisher, whom Williams admired as the Titans’ head coach when Williams played at Vanderbilt.
• We hear the Seahawks are quite pleased with the surprisingly strong play of former first-round draft pick James Carpenter at left guard since returning from a knee injury that most close observers thought would take him longer to recover from. “What’s been so big is how much he’s been able to stay on the field,” one daily team observer said. “Marshawn Lynch has really been running well on the left side, a lot of times behind Carpenter’s huge upper body.”
• While Packers second-round DL Jerel Worthy appears to be making his presence felt more with every passing week, most close team observers agree that first-round pick Nick Perry has been pretty clearly outplayed so far this season by holdover Erik Walden at left outside linebacker.