Around the NFC West: Wells' complaints

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals running back Beanie Wells is upset about his role to this point in the season. Wells: "I didn't get into the game until there were four minutes left in the second quarter (Sunday against the Chargers) and I have no clue as to why. I'd like to think I'm a big part of this thing, but right now, I don't feel it." Wells does look like the most dangerous running back on the Cardinals' roster. Publicly challenging the coaching staff isn't the best way to go, however. Coaches already like Tim Hightower for the professional manner in which Hightower approaches his work. Speaking out too loudly only makes Hightower look better. The bottom line, though, is that Wells' talent should be enough to get him on the field.

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' defense hasn't been able to stop the run consistently. I've repeatedly noticed opposing teams -- notably San Diego and Atlanta -- getting a good push up the middle. Opponents are better able to run the ball in part because the Arizona offense isn't scoring enough points. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "We don't have Kurt Warner, and obviously Kurt was a quarterback that a number of times was able to bring us back or get us in the game. That element of the offense we're obviously missing. We don't have all our receivers, and that affects us as well. We're certainly not ready to say we can't do that, that we can't come from behind, but we're not as good right now at handling that."

Also from McManaman: Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt has another quarterback decision to make. My first impression watching Max Hall was that he appeared too small by NFL standards, but he probably appeared smaller after replacing the towering Anderson. The NFL lists Hall at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds. For comparison, Drew Brees is listed at 6-0 and 209.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says strong safety Adrian Wilson isn't happy with his play to this point in the season. Wilson was dominant during a Week 1 game against St. Louis. He has had some issues since then, as have the Cardinals.

Also from Urban: The deep pass Anderson threw too long for a wide-open Stephen Williams symbolized the Cardinals' missed opportunities.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team will give younger players more reps during bye-week practices. Coach Pete Carroll: "We’ll take the opportunity to push guys up in their play numbers. It could go all the way across the board. There are all kinds of guys that are going to get more turns with the first group. We’ll put them against the top guys more so, and try to make those matchups show us more and give us more information."

Brian McIntyre of scout.com breaks down the Seahawks' personnel use against the Rams, confirming what the gamebook said about cornerback Walter Thurmond: the rookie did not play. The Seahawks had planned for Thurmond to start if Marcus Trufant were not available. Trufant wound up being available, however, and so the team decided to hold out Thurmond altogether.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says, among other things, that Seattle has won two games in spite of its offense this season.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Rams were able to tip Matt Hasselbeck's passes in part because they weren't always trying to rush. Also: "A general rule for offensive linemen block in the quick-passing series is to fire out low, which forces defenders to drop their hands."

Also from Boling: Carroll might be most bothered by the Seahawks' lack of a running game. The team has yet to find the big back it was seeking.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald says the NFL has suspended Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill for another game. Hill is on injured reserve.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford is holding up well in all areas. Bradford: "To be honest, I feel very fortunate right now. I really haven't gotten beat up. My body feels great. Other than a couple bumps and bruises, there's really nothing out of the ordinary that's sore. So I think that's a credit to my offensive line and what they've been able to do in keeping me protected."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Bradford felt as though he played poorly against Seattle. Bradford did miss some throws he normally makes. Bradford: "I just felt like I missed some easy throws. I felt like I was just off-target on a couple of throws. They didn't hurt us (Sunday), but down the road in a close ballgame when we need to keep drives going, need to keep the offense on the field, they could come back to haunt us. It's really just me slowing down, staying in rhythm, and then delivering an accurate ball."

Also from Coats: Steven Jackson and Oshiomogho Atogwe came through Week 4 without aggravating injuries.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch isn't quite ready to declare the Rams the best team in the NFC West.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sees good things from Bradford and better things from the Rams' coaches.

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com provides an injury update. Defensive tackle Clifton Ryan could return this week.

Also from Wagoner: Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo says he's still not satisfied with how the team's defense is playing despite holding all four opponents to no more than 17 points.

Brian Stull of 101ESPN St. Louis says Rams coaches have to remind themselves they're dealing with a rookie quarterback.

Tony Softli of 101ESPN St. Louis explains why he thinks Bradford will be the NFL's top rookie this season and one of its top quarterbacks for years to come.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com looks at four key plays from the 49ers' game against Atlanta and each of the team's 53 players. Maiocco on Brian Westbrook: "Did not play, though he was on the field for a third-down play in the first quarter before it appeared (Alex) Smith wanted him on the other side of the field. Smith called a timeout, and Westbrook never got a second chance."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee looks at how the 49ers' offense changed -- and did not change -- with Mike Johnson as coordinator. The 49ers did get the ball to Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis early in the game, but there were also throws to Frank Gore and fullback Moran Norris. In watching the game Monday night, I did not see dramatic changes to the approach. I'll watch again as soon as possible, hopefully Tuesday at some point.

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers coach Mike Singletary appeared to be in a fog during portions of his news conference Monday. I got the same impression watching Singletary speak following the game Sunday. Branch: "Asked if his defense was tiring in the final minutes, he began discussing the Nate Clements fumble again. ... Asked why Taylor Mays started ahead of Reggie Smith, the presumptive backup strong safety, Singletary seemed to think the question had something to do with the controversy surrounding Michael Lewis."

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat thinks Singletary is more talk than action. Cohn: "It is very bad when a head coach does not know his limits. It means he doesn't know who he is. ... The other head coaches never could compete with him on the field. Who could? But the other head coaches know their business. Many started coaching in high school and others started in college, putting in their time, filling their heads with Xs and Os and diagrams of plays. They practice chess moves all the time in their minds except the pieces are real people who run and hit and think. The other coaches are grinders and nerds. He looks like a hero and they don't. They coach circles around him, exact their revenge against this cocky unprepared beginner. They know their business and they enjoy coaching against him. He has good intentions but good intentions never are enough. In his world people get judged by their record. What is his record?" It's a lot worse than it would be if Saints kicker Garrett Hartley had missed against the 49ers instead of against other teams, or if the Falcons hadn't forced that late fumble during an interception return. Will those losses become defining?

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers are losing their bet on Smith at quarterback. Kawakami: "Singletary also truly believes that the 49ers don't need greatness out of their quarterback -- not if their defense is dominating and their running game is consistent. So far, not much of that has happened, and when things break down, it almost always is nice to have a quarterback who can win. Sunday's loss brought Smith's career record as a starter to 16-28. In his most recent run, dating to Game 7 last season, Smith has looked more confident, but the 49ers are 5-9."

Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle says Smith owned up to his two interceptions against the Falcons.