Around the NFC West: Rams' man with plan

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch relays Billy Devaney's vision for the Rams' future. Devaney advocates expanding the pro personnel department, becoming bigger and more physical throughout the roster, improving the offensive line, beefing up the middle of the defense and seeking out high-character players.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams rookie Donnie Avery has tried to scale the "rookie wall" with a cracked hip that never healed.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams were frustrated to see Donnie Jones left off the Pro Bowl squad in favor of Jeff Feagles. Kicker Josh Brown called the selection process a "hoax" and said Jones should have been the choice.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat previews Isaac Bruce's return to St. Louis as a member of the 49ers. Rams coach Jim Haslett expects fans to cheer loudly for Bruce.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says Alex Smith wants to prove skeptics wrong after four difficult seasons with the 49ers.

Also from Crumpacker: Bruce appreciates the Len Eshmont Award while suggesting teammates should spend more time studying 49ers history.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Bruce needs 60 yards receiving to pass Tim Brown for second on the NFL's all-time list.

Also from Maiocco: Smith's possible return to the 49ers in 2009 could hinge on changes to the coaching staff.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Bruce stands for much of what 49ers coach Mike Singletary wants to establish.

Also from Barrows: Smith hasn't started throwing a football following his latest surgery, but the quarterback expects to be fine by spring minicamps.

Ann Killion of the San Jose Mercury News says Smith's willingness to return reflects the simpler, healthier environment Singletary is establishing.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals could lose to Matt Leinart's college backup when Arizona visits the Patriots.

Also from Somers: Freezing rain and snow could greet the Cardinals in New England.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Pro Bowl choice Sean Morey appreciates having a job with the Cardinals after being cut seven times.

Also from Urban: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has become a playmaker as a rookie. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has taken notice.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals are more concerned about wind than cold against the Patriots.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says Brett Favre went overtime talking about Mike Holmgren on a conference call with Seattle-area reporters. Also, expect left tackle Kyle Williams to make his first NFL start for the Seahawks.

Also from Farnsworth: A look at the Seahawks' second-string offensive line. Who are these guys?

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Julius Jones expressed no regrets in coming to Seattle despite a disappointing first season with the team.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune looks at the retiring and unretiring ways of Holmgren and Brett Favre.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Holmgren has made it clear he'll be back with an NFL team sooner rather than later.

Also from Williams: A look at Seneca Wallace's viability as a starter.