Around the NFC West: 49ers distracted?

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat questions the 49ers' focus heading into their final regular-season game. Mike Singletary's future has commanded plenty of attention. More here.

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle celebrates Joe Starkey's career as radio voice of the 49ers. Starkey gave up a stable job to pursue his announcing dreams. Now he's walking away on his own terms, albeit wistfully.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' simplified approach to defense has led to significant improvement under Singletary.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee thinks the 49ers owe their good health in part to former coach Mike Nolan, who reorganized the team's strength and conditioning program.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Singletary wants more from the 49ers' pass rush.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic puts the Cardinals' current efforts in context. He checks in with current and former Cardinals, from Jim Hart to Vince Tobin to Kurt Warner.

Carrie Waters of the Arizona Republic profiles Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, who ties team success to the construction of a new stadium.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com wonders if the Seahawks can bring out the best in the Cardinals' passing game. Warner put up big numbers in Seattle last month. Also, Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin says it is "vitally important" for him to enter the playoffs healthy.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals have nothing but credibility at stake against Seattle.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams players have signed a petition supporting Jim Haslett as head coach beyond this season. Said one player: "They don't pay us to make decisions on head coaches. But it's good for [Haslett] to know that we've got his back. All 53 players may not agree with it, but I think the vast majority wants this to happen."

Also from Thomas: He profiles new Rams general manager Billy Devaney, a former luggage loader at the airport in Newark.

More from Thomas, with Bill Coats: A Rams notebook with Torry Holt's thoughts on Marshall Faulk as a possible NFL coach.

Jose Romero of the Seattle Times says a Seahawks victory might send a competitive message about the division race next season.

Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune looks at Mike Holmgren's options once the Seahawks' season ends. Sleeping in is one of them.