Around the NFC West: Rams' sale update

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says one of the potential buyers for the Rams is from Canada. Miklasz: "One of the three potential buyers is a group of investors organized by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts. Multiple sources tell me that another group has strong ties to Toronto, which should concern those who want to see the Rams remain in St. Louis. As for the third potential buyer ... candidly, I've been unable to nail down that part. But I know it isn't anyone from St. Louis. And I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the bidder is based in Chicago." That makes Checketts' bid the one most likely to keep the Rams in St. Louis for the long term.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom as saying the team is closer to being competitive than some people think. "I think fans should be optimistic about the direction of this organization," Rosenbloom told the Post-Dispatch in a rare interview. "We made a sweeping restructuring of the entire organization so that we could be winners on the field — to put us in position to start winning games. Now, this is not a one-season fix. This past season was sort of an interim year in my opinion before we see a more successful on-field product. I think this year it was necessary to get through a lot of stuff."

Also from Thomas: says Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo expects a good Super Bowl game after facing both participants during the regular season. Rams defensive end Leonard Little: "Drew Brees has great receivers, and he's one of the best quarterbacks in the league. But Peyton Manning is a totally different beast. I'm not saying that because me and him went to school together [at Tennessee]. He's a totally different animal at quarterback because he's so aware of what the defense is doing. I don't know if he calls his own plays, but sometimes it seems like he calls his own plays because he knows where the defense is going. And when he does that, when he gets on a roll like that, he's hard to stop."

Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times says Rams and 49ers alumnus Mike Martz flew to Jay Cutler's home following an interview with the Bears, but it remains unclear which candidate the Bears will hire as their offensive coordinator.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers safety Dashon Goldson has hired Drew Rosenhaus as his agent, dumping Peter Schaffer. Maiocco: "Rosenhaus also represents Frank Gore, Jason Hill, Demetric Evans, Moran Norris and Marcus Hudson" in addition to guard Chilo Rachal, another recent convert.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers should make a strong play for Donovan McNabb this offseason. Kawakami: "Instead of cautiously tiptoeing into playoff contention, why shouldn't the 49ers embrace this opportunity and try to make a bold quarterback move that might vault them beyond the confines of their paltry division? By the way, that's exactly what they tried last year when they attempted to steal Warner away from Arizona. Why not check with the Philadelphia Eagles and see what it would take to pry loose Donovan McNabb? Would it cost a second-round pick? More? Would McNabb, whose contract expires next season, want a massive new deal, or would he be OK with a more moderate two- or three-year tack-on?" Going after McNabb should be an easy decision. Whether or not the Eagles would trade him -- within the conference, no less -- is another question.

Tom Pedulla of USA Today quotes former 49ers receiver Terrell Owens as saying he would be chasing Jerry Rice's records if only he had played with better quarterbacks. Owens: "I know hands-down I'd be close to Jerry Rice's records if I had been with quality quarterbacks like he had," Owens said. "He had Joe Montana and he finished with Steve Young. That wasn't a drop-off. Say I had been with a guy like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees all of my career. Are you kidding me?"

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Pete Carroll is holding his first staff meeting as Seahawks head coach Monday. O'Neil: "Carroll has assembled a staff that includes one of the league's most respected rushing-game architects in Alex Gibbs and a passing-game whiz kid of an offensive coordinator in Jeremy Bates."

Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says the Browns have hired former Seahawks offensive coordinator Gil Haskell as a football adviser. With former assistant Keith Gilbertson already on staff in a scouting capacity, Browns president Mike Holmgren has the makings of a future offensive coaching staff in place. No one should be surprised if Holmgren returns to the sideline at some point in the future. He is a coach at heart. Gilbertson and Haskell are coaches at heart, not football advisers.

Bob Young of the Arizona Republic looks at reasons for worry and reasons for hope as the Cardinals enter the 2010 offseason with Matt Leinart as their starting quarterback. Young: "Maybe the thing we like most about Coach Ken Whisenhunt is that when he came here, entitlement went right out the door along with Dennis Green. Leinart has a team around him that should be able to move the ball without depending solely on his left arm. We expect to see a more run-oriented, grind-it-out offense featuring running back Beanie Wells, especially if the Cardinals can make defensive improvements so that they don't have to depend strictly on piling up the points to win every Sunday. When Leinart shows that he can operate the offense efficiently and protect the ball, then we'd expect Whisenhunt to start letting him open it up. It's sort of an earn-as-you-learn program."

Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register says Kurt Warner is probably the best Iowa product to play in the NFL. Ed Podolak: "Without question. Kurt was more of a major factor in a team getting to and winning a Super Bowl than any of us. It makes me proud to be an Iowan, because of the way he's represented our state and what I think is good in an athlete at the professional level today. He seems to be somewhat of a throwback from earlier days in sports -- where good athletes were also good guys."