Around the NFC West: Cards' image endures

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals have yet to dispel negative perceptions despite a 7-5 record and imminent division title.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals made their punting change with East Coast weather in mind. Field position could be key when the Cardinals visit the Patriots in Week 16 or if they face a road game in the playoffs.

Also from Somers: The Cardinals are trying not to focus on the big picture.

Bob Young of the Arizona Republic would rather see the Cardinals claim a division title by beating the Rams than by having the 49ers lose.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals are hoping to jump-start their pass rush against the Rams, who allowed zero sacks in Week 13.

Also from Tulumello: Neil Rackers adjusts to a new holder on field goals and extra points.

John Morgan of Field Gulls thought Seahawks rookie Lawrence Jackson showed signs of improvement against the Cowboys. I would love to know how many times Jackson maintains run containment to his side. Seems like not enough.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times counters perceptions about Patriots coach Bill Belichick. I've always thought Belichick needed better questions more than he needed better answers.

Also from O'Neil: Mike Holmgren says the Seahawks' decision to name Jim Mora the next head coach hasn't affected performance on the field, even though Holmgren would have preferred the arrangement to have remained a private matter.

Frank Hughes of Seahawks Insider disputes Deon Grant's contention that reporters took the Seattle safety's postgame comments out of context. Grant seemingly criticized defensive coordinator John Marshall after the 34-9 defeat at Dallas.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the NFL's 30th-ranked defense "got defensive" about what Grant meant by his comments.

Jose Romero of the Seattle Times says Seahawks center Chris Spencer lost feeling in his toes thanks to a herniated disk.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers safety Mark Roman is looking for his first interception in two years.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says 49ers coach Mike Singletary has improved his approach since a rough first week on the job.

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle says Frank Gore deserves better than what the 49ers have to offer.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle polled 49ers players on gun ownership. Ten said they owned guns. Six declined to answer. Twenty-seven said they did not own a firearm.

Also from Crumpacker: The 49ers plan to honor Fred Dean at halftime Sunday.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers cornerback Nate Clements is playing with a broken thumb. The injury could limit Clements' availability as a return specialist while complicating efforts to play press coverage.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Cardinals can clinch a home playoff game for the first time since the Truman Administration. Thomas: "For many St. Louis football fans over the age of 35, this could be a tough day. Our old team, with our old quarterback, winning our division."

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch calls Rams running back Steven Jackson "235 pounds of paradox" while saying there isn't a more complex athlete in St. Louis. Since Jackson became a starter, the Rams are 21-33 when he plays and 1-10 when he does not play. They average an additional 59 yards rushing per game when Jackson plays.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says the Rams hope to move veteran Chris Draft into the starting lineup at middle linebacker. Usual starter Will Witherspoon is hurting. Rookie David Vobora got the start in Week 13. Also, coach Jim Haslett says he has never owned guns, but cornerback Ron Bartell does pack a firearm.