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Around the NFC West: 49ers' WR roles

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat wonders what it means for Shaun Hill when 49ers coach Mike Singletary says the team needs better play at quarterback. It's clear the 49ers have never committed fully to Hill. They gave Alex Smith every chance to win the job during training camp and they'll consider him again if Hill struggles. Getting the ball to Michael Crabtree would help Hill stay on the field.

Also from Maiocco: Brandon Jones may or may not suit up Sunday. I suspect Jones will play. The 49ers are paying him too much for Jones to remain a non-factor all season.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Jones is confused over his role. Barrows: "To be honest, I don't know myself. That's what I'm trying to figure out. I thought I was a receiver, but I guess I'm a special teams helper. I don't know. I just do what I can and just help out the team the best way I can. But at this time, I'm wondering the same thing you are."

Also from Barrows: Arnaz Battle says teammates have "no resentment" toward Crabtree. Battle: "That's the way it goes. It's part of the game. It's out of my control. You can't blame Crabtree. He's just doing his job like everybody else, coming in and trying to prepare himself. There's definitely no resentment."

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers hope their offensive line improves with Adam Snyder moving from right tackle to right guard. Snyder and Chilo Rachal will split time. Snyder is more consistent than Rachal, but he has also had problems.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle also picked up on Singletary's comments about Hill, describing as "cryptic" the coach's disclosure that Smith has "never been out of the picture" at quarterback. I think there's a good chance Smith will play before the season is over.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Anquan Boldin's status for Sunday probably will not be determined until game day. Somers: "Boldin suffered the sprained right ankle in the first half last Sunday against Seattle and played a minimal amount in the second half. Boldin said there hasn't been much swelling and he underwent a rigorous rehabilitation session during practice." Sound like Boldin will play.

Also from Somers: The Cardinals aren't reading too much into the Giants' struggles against the Saints. Somers: "An argument could be made that the Giants' record is a bit deceiving, too. Of their first five opponents, only Dallas (3-2) has a winning record. The other four -- the Redskins, Buccaneers, Chiefs and Raiders -- are a combined 5-19. Starting last week, the schedule became tougher, and after Arizona, the Giants play the Eagles (3-2), Chargers (2-3), Falcons (4-1) and the Broncos (6-0). The Cardinals, however, are under no illusions the Giants' 5-1 record is the product of playing bad teams. The Giants preceded the Cardinals as NFC champions in 2007 and won Super Bowl XLII at University of Phoenix Stadium."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in with Cardinals receiver Steve Breaston, who traces his emergence to a 2008 game at Washington. Quarterback Kurt Warner: "I probably talked to three or four different people with regards to Sunday and one of the first things they said was, 'I love Steve Breaston.' That’s all you can say. You love having that guy around, you love having him on your team."

Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 gives the Cardinals' defense an A-plus grade for its performance against Seattle.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says receiver Brandon Gibson was shopping for a dust pan and ironing board when the Eagles called to tell him he had been traded to the Rams. Gibson will probably contribute immediately in St. Louis, particularly with Donnie Avery's hip still hurting. Thomas: "With a long grocery list of roster needs in the offseason, the Rams couldn't solve every need. As it turned out, the wide receiver corps has suffered. Injuries continue to prevent speedster Donnie Avery from being the go-to guy the Rams hoped for entering the season. Avery seemed to be returning to form following a training camp foot injury when he suffered a hip injury early in the second quarter against Jacksonville. The prognosis for a quick return was optimistic earlier in the week, but Avery was unable to practice Wednesday."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams linebacker Paris Lenon, who had 17 tackles in his last game against the Colts.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says Gibson welcomed the trade for the opportunity it provides him. Gibson had hoped to be drafted before the fifth round, when Philadelphia selected him. Gibson: "Either the top or middle of the fifth round, I actually got a call from the Rams just checking to see if I was there. I don't remember who it was. I apologize if I was a little unhappy. It was a long day for me. I wasn't rude or anything. I was just kind of quiet on the phone. Things worked out. They wanted me, so I am here."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw a touchdown pass to offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in coverage. Hasselbeck on Knapp: "He was nervous. He took off his wedding ring. He emptied out all the pens in his pockets." Sounds like a good way to lighten up the bye week.

John Morgan of Field Gulls sizes up the Seahawks' centers, suggesting Chris Spencer's prime years could be in the future. Morgan: "The player every Seahawks fan wants Spencer to be, Robbie Tobeck, was starting at left guard for the Atlanta Falcons when he turned 27. He was blocking for the much sacked Chris Chandler and Billy Joe Toliver -- both were sacked on greater than 10 percent of all pass plays -- and the then-unknown Jamal Anderson. Anderson averaged 3.5 yards per carry that year."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times assesses the Seahawks' problems on their offensive line. O'Neil: "Seattle has started 12 different combinations on its offensive line in the past 22 games. Compare that to Arizona, which has used the same offensive line combination for all of those games. Or look back just a few years ago in Seattle. From 2003 through 2005, the Seahawks started a grand total of five different offensive-line combinations in 48 regular-season games."

Also from O'Neil: a chat with Matt Hasselbeck. I had trouble getting this chat to load. Perhaps you will have better luck.