Around the NFC West: Holmgren urgency

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks are about to fall over a cliff and only Mike Holmgren can save them. Kelley: "There are, however, people close to owner Paul Allen who are reluctant to bring him back. There are people -- just a few people -- who had skirmishes with Holmgren in his previous incarnation as president and coach. There are people in the organization who, wrongly, believe Holmgren has campaigned for this job and are offended by that perceived behavior. The Seahawks are about to jump off the rails. This has the feel of a franchise gone crazy. On the field and off, it is beginning to look like a team that has no focus and no discipline. It's a franchise that, ironically, is looking more and more like Cleveland's every weekend." The process will tell Holmgren what Allen thinks about his skills as a general manager and the Seahawks' current structure. If Allen wanted Holmgren back as GM, the Seahawks presumably would be moving to make it happen regardless of what anyone else thought.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the door has not entirely shut on Holmgren.

Mike Lombardi of National Football Post explains the Seahawks' search for a general manager this way: "Why no Holmgren in Seattle? On the surface, it’s a very interesting question, but deep down, the Seahawks worried about Holmgren’s ability as a general manager, which initially prompted their hiring of Bob Ferguson and then Tim Ruskell. Clearly, the Seahawks love Holmgren’s talents as a coach, but they don’t hold the same appreciation for his ability to run an organization." Lombardi says the Seahawks need a leader without a predetermined view of the team.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com checks in with Aaron Curry, who was back at practice four days after being carted off the field with a hip pointer. Curry was face down for more than a minute before medical personnel rolled him over slowly. Cameras showed teammates Josh Wilson, Jordan Babineaux and Cory Redding kneeling in reflection nearby. The cart drove onto the field after Curry had been down for more than 2 minutes. Nearly another minute passed before medical personnel lifted Curry onto the cart. Curry: "I thought it was going to be much worse. A lot of guys said the way I was hollering that [they] thought my career was over."

Also from Farnsworth: Sacks are down for Patrick Kerney and the Seahawks.

Matt Pitman of 710ESPN Seattle passes along T.J. Houshmandzadeh's thoughts on the late Chris Henry.

Aaron Wilson of National Football Post says Seahawks interim GM Ruston Webster is interviewing for the full-time job.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says fumbling early in games has been a problem for the Cardinals. Somers: "Four of Tim Hightower's five fumbles have come in the first quarter. His four lost fumbles have come no later than the 14:13 mark in the second quarter. Hightower, in his second season, has looked long and hard to find the reasons for his turnovers. He's trying to walk the fine line of correcting the problem while not dwelling upon on it so much that it erodes his instincts."

Also from Somers: Larry Fitzgerald is practicing without complications from his recent knee injury.

More from Somers: details on kicker Neil Rackers' gruesome injury, including the observation that "it looks like Rackers has a map of Italy on his right leg."

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals rookie safety Rashad Johnson sounds confident in his abilities. Johnson: "As a rookie, sometimes it's hard to come in and start and play like you did in college. But this is an opportunity for me to show the coaching staff just what they got in a third-round pick and I think I'm going to play a really good game on Sunday."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Johnson represents a fallback option if the Cardinals cannot resolve a sticky contract situation involving starting free safety Antrel Rolle.

Also from Urban: Fitzgerald shares his thoughts on fumbling. The Pro Bowl wideout has lost only three fumbles during his career, all during a four-game period in 2007.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams did not seek a 24-hour blackout extension from the league. Their game against the Texans will mark the second blacked out home game in a row.

Also from Thomas: the latest on the Rams' battles with swine flu. Center Jason Brown apparently played through the malady in Week 14. Agent Harold Lewis: "You know Jason. He plans on playing Sunday unless the Center for Disease Control stops him."

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' mounting losses aren't a bad thing in the big picture, particularly this year. Burwell: "Sometimes you get star-crossed when you are a bad team, and that is what has happened to the Rams the last few years. They get just bad enough to be near the top of the draft, but then they get stuck with having to draft a player with the second overall pick who isn't really a drop-dead, game-changing automatic stud. This year, they are in the running to get one of those once-in-a-generation players whom NFL scouts and coaches drool about." That would be Ndamukong Suh.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee wonders how inclement weather might affect the 49ers-Eagles game Sunday.

Also from Barrows: 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye thinks Alex Smith will finish strong and become the team's quarterback for 2010. Barring injury or total collapse, it's difficult to envision the 49ers proceeding with anyone else under center (or in the shotgun, as it may be). It's also difficult to envision an offensive coordinator expressing anything but support for a quarterback in Smith's situation.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Smith's cadence has contributed to 17 offsides penalties for 49ers opponents, including 13 in home games.

Also from Maiocco: Free safety Dashon Goldson enjoyed a breakout performance against the Cardinals on Monday night, showing excellent range and playmaking ability. Maiocco: "While the season has not always been perfect, Goldson is playing much better in recent weeks. He clearly enjoyed the best game of his career Monday in the 49ers' 24-9 victory over the Cardinals. Goldson is second on the 49ers with 100 tackles this season. He has three interceptions, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a sack. And the 49ers feel good about his ability to effect change during the course of a game."

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News assesses Ahmad Brooks' improvement as a 49ers pass-rusher.

Also from Brown: Shawntae Spencer wins the 49ers' courage award after bouncing back from a devastating knee injury.