Around the NFC West: Support for Singletary

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says 49ers players are backing Mike Singletary's bid to become head coach beyond this season.

Also from FitzGerald: Singletary singles out Donald Strickland for having a strong game against the Bills in Week 13.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers have hired former NFL referee Ron Blum to assist with game-day operations. Blum also helps officiate practices.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer sizes up the Seahawks' injury situation before checking in with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Meanwhile, coach Mike Holmgren downplays Deon Grant's criticism toward defensive coordinator John Marshall.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says D.D. Lewis would start at linebacker for the Seahawks if a stinger sidelines Leroy Hill.

Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seahawks left tackle Walter Jones will start against the Patriots despite a leg injury that prevents him from practicing.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' offensive struggles only intensify once the team reaches the red zone. The Rams have only 19 red-zone trips this season, less than half the average for the other 31 teams.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat provides an extensive injury update relating to the Rams. Also, rookie guard John Greco was more effective blocking for pass than run, while Oshiomogho Atogwe continued his ball-hawking ways.

Also from Korte: Rams coach Jim Haslett absolves quarterback Marc Bulger from blame on two of three second-half interceptions against the Dolphins.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals, fresh off defeats to the Giants and Eagles, hope to regain confidence playing at home against the Rams.

KTAR.com says Tom Dillon, former radio voice of the Cardinals and a 17-time honoree as Arizona Sportscaster of the Year, has died at age 65. Dillon also spent 20 years as the voice of Arizona State University sports.