Around the NFC West: Still Joe Cool

Bob Padecky of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat catches up with Joe Montana and finds the 49ers legend as unassuming as ever. They discussed the NFL labor situation and the injuries that affect players, including Montana, every day. Padecky: "Montana listed the surgeries he underwent in his 15-year Hall of Fame career -- two on his neck, one for his right shoulder, two on his right elbow, one on his left elbow, three on his back (two within 12 days), one on his right hand, six or seven on his knees. That's either 16 or 17 surgeries, not counting the six or seven concussions he estimated he sustained, the after-effects debated."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee sees a potential marriage of convenience between 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback Alex Smith. Barrows: "Even if Smith returned to the 49ers he'd still find himself in the same difficult position as any quarterback newcomer -- having to learn a new offense during an abbreviated offseason. Which helps explain the recent meetings with Harbaugh. Both men realize they could be each other's best option in 2011. The more work they get done now, the better off both will be if they are stuck with each other in August or later. Smith is unlikely to sign any sort of contract extension before March 4 and limit his options if, miraculously, the CBA strife is settled and there is an extended free-agency period after all."

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says a few 49ers fans experienced the thrill -- and frustration -- of Super Bowl Sunday in Dallas. The 49ers sent select season-ticket holders on the team charter to Dallas with president Jed York and, of course, MC Hammer.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com ranks the 49ers' top needs as quarterback, outside linebacker and cornerback.

Doug Farrar of Sportspress Northwest offers thoughts on the Seahawks' offensive line, including this on Stacy Andrews' inability to crack the lineup at right tackle: "If Andrews was the potential right tackle of the future, why wasn’t he seeing more time there during games when Sean Locklear’s play was an issue? ... Locklear wound up taking a $2.2 million pay cut to stay in Seattle in 2010 in a contract re-structuring that makes him a free agent in 2011. It’s not likely he’ll be back. The question for the Seahawks is whether Andrews, another veteran tackle, or a draft pick takes that position." Andrews' salary is $5.25 million in 2011, a high number.

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says a chilly, flawed week in Dallas gives Arizona a better shot at bringing back a Super Bowl. Says the chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl host committee: "I hope the owners are reminded of the good times they've had in Phoenix. You have nightmares about what happened in Dallas. You can't plan for the ice storm that hit Atlanta in 2000. But I hope it does work to our advantage. We have great weather and an awesome venue for the Super Bowl."

Robert Eckhart of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune says Rams left tackle Rodger Saffold is back in Bradenton, Fla., for more training through IMG. Eckhart: "At last year's combine, Saffold ran the 40 in 4.9 seconds and displayed athleticism that made his stock rise after some draft watchers had predicted he would go in the third round. Instead, the Rams picked him at the top of the second round and signed a four-year contract worth more than $6 million -- substantially more than he would have made as a third-round pick. He had a stellar rookie season, allowing just three quarterback sacks in 16 games and making a number of postseason all-rookie teams. This winter, Saffold is back at IMG, trying to keep his edge."