Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle checks in with Titans coach Jeff Fisher and 49ers coach Mike Singletary, who were rookie teammates with the Bears in 1981. Fisher: "It needs to be pointed out we were drafted on different days. Mike was all business. I remember swinging by his room before camp and every [defensive] formation was taped to the ceiling. Mike was an emotional player who loved to practice. He demanded that everyone do the right thing."
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat passes along thoughts from 49ers tight end Delanie Walker. Maiocco: "Most of the time Walker is in there, he said he gets covered by a cornerback or a safety. Walker was a wideout in college, and he said not many teams want to leave a linebacker on him one on one."
Also from Maiocco: Alex Smith makes his first regular-season start at Candlestick Park since Oct. 28, 2007. Maiocco: "The 49ers enter today’s game against the Tennessee Titans at Candlestick Park on a three-game losing streak, and losers of four of their past five games. And while most eyes will be on quarterbacks Smith and Vince Young, the game might ultimately be decided on which team establishes the more formidable run attack."
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers' offensive line continues to shuffle amid injuries.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals hope to stick with their running game more in Week 9. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "I think our run is improving, but I still think we're going to have to see it for, not just for one week, but for a few weeks in a row to get the confidence in it. We're still by no means there, but I think we're making progress."
Also from Somers: Good luck trying to figure out the Cardinals. Somers: "I've given up pretending I know how this team is going to play each week. I thought it would take care of business last week against Panthers. But the Cardinals haven't learned how to play well when their emotions aren't at fever pitch. And I think you have to give the Panthers some credit, too. They have a good offensive line and two elite running backs." The Bears do not have a good offensive line.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the team has plenty of experience rebounding from tough situations.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times passes along an interview transcript featuring Seahawks receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Houshmandzadeh: "I've come a long way, man. I used to be short-tempered, man. I'm telling, you. You call my coaches from junior college. I used to be out of control. I'm telling you. Go call Dennis Erickson at Arizona State, and ask him how I was in college. Ask him how I was in practice. Go call Marvin Lewis, ask him how I was in practice. I've been so chill here. That's what I'm saying. I've been chill here. I used to be way worse in Cincinnati. Way worse in college. I've come a long way."
Also from O'Neil: The Seahawks' season has reached a tipping point.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune looks at common threads among losing teams as the Seahawks prepare to face the Lions.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks have used up their allotment of sympathy. Brewer: "I'm telling you, as crazy as it sounds, there are winners, many winners, in the locker room. If you could observe how professionally they prepare and how well they practice most of the time, you'd realize that claims of this team quitting are erroneous. But they're still losing."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams defensive end Chris Long, who recently collected his first regular-season sack in a calendar year. Long: "It's a big weight [lifted)] I'm not going to lie. It's just crazy to go through seven games with zero sacks [this season]. It just doesn't make sense. You're playing better ball than last year and you've got less sacks."
Turf Show Times' VanRam uses information from Football Outsiders to project where the Rams rank among teams that could select No. 1 overall in the 2010 draft. VanRam: "It's not unthinkable that Tampa Bay could be the NFL's second winless team in two seasons. [The Bucs] still have to play New Orleans twice. Their remaining home games are against Green Bay, New Orleans, NY Jets and the Falcons. The weakest team they have remaining on the schedule is Seattle, but they're playing them at Qwest Field."