Around the NFC West: Welcoming real refs

Labor peace on the officiating front means NFL teams can go back to despising the regular officials.

How sweet.

Some fans have asked which referees will be working the various NFC West games in Week 4. I don't know the answers yet. Teams generally know officiating assignments a couple weeks in advance. The league does not publicize the information.

Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams were excited to know the regular officials were close to returning. Quarterback Sam Bradford: "I just don’t think it’s fair to the fans, I don’t think it’s fair to us as players to go out there and deal with that week in and week out."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Michael Brockers is close to returning for the Rams. Thomas: "Brockers, in fact, may be ready for Seattle this Sunday in the Edward Jones Dome. Four weeks after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the Rams' Aug. 30 preseason finale against Baltimore, the rookie from Louisiana State was back on the practice field at Rams Park. He was officially listed as 'limited' on the team's injury report but got a good amount of work."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says Jets coach Rex Ryan was in a generous mood when it came to lavishing praise upon various 49ers players. Ryan called tight end Vernon Davis the NFL's best: "If you're not looking at Vernon Davis, what, are you kidding me? The guy runs a 4.3, the best tight end, the No. 1 tight end in football, in my opinion. You got that [Rob] Gronkowski kid, but this guy is a 4.3 speed guy."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee suspects Brandon Jacobs could get short-yardage work if healthy enough to play Sunday.

Also from Barrows: Ryan apologized to 49ers quarterback Alex Smith this offseason after mistaking him for Aaron Rodgers. Ryan: "I felt so bad. And the next day I saw Alex at a different function, and I apologized to him, and we laughed about that."

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says Smith has attempted very few downfield throws this season. Branch: "Of Smith’s 92 pass attempts, four have traveled 20 yards or more downfield (tight end Vernon Davis was targeted with the other three deep balls). Of the NFL’s 32 quarterbacks who have thrown at least 30 passes, only Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick has attempted fewer of at least 20 yards than Smith."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic provides a detailed look at turf-toe injuries such as the one Beanie Wells has suffered. Says one doctor: "It sounds like a hang nail or something like that, but you can’t push off. It seems innocuous by name, but it can be debilitating. And a lot of things we do to treat it in athletes will stiffen up the toe. We’ll tape it or stiffen up the shoe, but it’s really hard to perform when you can't feel that big toe. Usually if it’s just a small sprain or something like that, you can tape it up and go. If it’s significant, you'll need a minimum of at least four to six weeks of soft tissue healing. Then you start the rehabilitation." Note: I have apparently reached my monthly limit for viewing Arizona Republic stories without a paid subscription.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com previews Karlos Dansby's return to Arizona as a member of the Miami Dolphins. Dansby and Adrian Wilson are close friends. They speak every day. Dansby on Daryl Washington, the player Arizona drafted to replace him: "He’s a dynamic player, what more can I say about him. He's very athletic, very fast. He reminds me of myself. They did a great job of getting the guy to fill that void."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seattle players felt as though outsiders expected them to apologize for claiming a disputed 14-12 victory Monday night. Cornerback Richard Sherman: "Regardless of the outcome of the game, we’re not going to get the respect that we feel like we deserve. But it doesn’t really matter to us because we keep it in-house. We keep it about us."

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times checks in with Golden Tate after the receiver drew a vitriolic backlash following his disputed catch Monday night. Tate: "If I mentioned those words, it would be bleeps, bleeps, bleeps. Some nasty stuff. It's mean. I've been called a cheater. I don't have any dignity. I'm not a Christian. A lot of hurtful things. I just pray on it and continue to live my life."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says James Carpenter could play for Seattle in Week 4. Coach Pete Carroll: "He's live and in action this week. Carp is back to life. He has done a great job in the process of getting back here. This is Week 4. We're thrilled that he's got a chance. He has a chance to play this week. We'll see how it goes. He'll be playing at left guard, and we'll see how all that fits. He has to make it through the week, but he's really excited about it. It has been a tremendous comeback, and he's way out ahead of schedule, and he has had no setbacks to note at all. We'll see how it makes it, and we'll look forward to him playing."