Around the NFC West: Gore thinks big

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Frank Gore has his eye on the NFL rushing title. I think 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz wouldn't mind adding a rushing champion to his pass-oriented resume, particularly after the Lions said they wanted a coordinator more committed to the ground game.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says cornerback Allen Rossum filled the role of the small, quick receiver Martz covets.

Also from Barrows: Gore's new approach includes letting the game come to him.

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers have come to appreciate "Cowboy" Justin Smith, a difference maker on their defense. I've watched Smith closely in the first three games and would say he's better than I anticipated.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic ties up loose ends from the Cardinals' defeat at Washington. Receiver Larry Fitzgerald laments missing a chance for another touchdown. Cornerback Rod Hood thought the defense let down the offense. And receiver Anquan Boldin won't forget Shawn Springs' declaration about their matchup.

Also from Somers: Coach Ken Whisenhunt explains why he elected to punt with 2:46 remaining against the Redskins. Also, nose tackle Gabe Watson might miss another game.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals still must prove they're not the same old Cardinals.

Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune says Edgerrin James has become an afterthought in Arizona, playing a secondary role to Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. I've always viewed James as a solid and consistent player, never a spectacular one.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the Seahawks will hold informal workouts today, Wednesday and Thursday before taking off for the bye weekend.

Also from Farnsworth: Seattle's ground game gives opponents something new to worry about.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks have some choices to make following their bye week given the expected return of injured players, notably Maurice Morris, Bobby Engram and Deion Branch.

Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks haven't decided whether to put Sean Locklear back in the lineup at right tackle. Ray Willis gives the team a "physical presence" on that side of the line, coach Mike Holmgren said.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch calls the Rams hopeless and the worst team in the history of football in St. Louis. He thinks firing coach Scott Linehan would be the most humane course of action in the short term.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams weren't competitive in Seattle even though they improved in a few key areas offensively.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams running back Brian Leonard will finally become active for a game now that an injury has knocked out Antonio Pittman.

Also from Coats: No big news from the Rams despite threats from ownership.