Around the NFC West: Cards' chance near

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals face a historic opportunity at Carolina.

John Faherty of the Arizona Republic says more than 1,000 fans showed up at the airport to send off the Cardinals.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Anquan Boldin remains questionable after testing his injured hamstring in practice Friday.

Also from Somers, with Bob McManaman: Arizona's rushing attack is averaging an additional 27 yards per game over the last two games. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are considering ways to use safety Antrel Rolle on offense.

More from McManaman: a look at the Cardinals' team chemistry. Also, the Cardinals led the NFL with 17 forced fumbles this season, while Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams hasn't lost one all season.

More from Somers: Keeping an extra wide receiver active could keep defensive lineman Kenny Iwebema from playing.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals and Panthers can't take much from their Week 8 meeting. Too many things have changed.

The 49ers' Walt Harris and Parys Haralson are picking the Panthers to beat the Cardinals. Haralson: "Jake Delhomme is a successful quarterback and I don't think that Arizona defense can shake him like they did the rookie last week. They've got a strong defense that can get pressure, but that Carolina oline is a physical bunch."

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says hiring Scott Linehan as the 49ers' offensive coordinator would make more sense than hiring the other known candidates.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee singles out Linehan as the favorite to win the job as 49ers offensive coordinator.

Also from Barrows: Clyde Christensen's candidacy doesn't seem to mesh with Mike Singletary's emphasis on running the football.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the Seahawks are closer to naming a defensive coordinator. Head coach Jim Mora will run the defense, however. Farnsworth: "Once a defensive coordinator is hired, the rest of the staff can be completed -- a process [general manager Tim] Ruskell said he would ideally like to have done before the coaches leave for the Senior Bowl practices, which begin in 10 days."

John Morgan of Field Gulls warns against reading too much into the comments Ruskell made to reporters during the week. A year ago, Ruskell suggested the team had no plans to release Shaun Alexander.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times says former Lions coach Rod Marinelli is no longer a consideration to become the Seahawks' defensive coordinator. My understanding is that Seattle was talking to Marinelli about joining the staff, but not necessarily as coordinator. The thought was that Marinelli might coach the defensive line.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests Winston Moss and Jim Fassel might not be serious candidates for the Rams' head-coaching job. He wonders if the Patriots' Josh McDaniels qualifies as the first legitimate outside candidate. Thomas: "Described as smart and calculating, McDaniels will be picky and selective when it comes to a head-coaching job. As part of that evaluation process he will look more to the structure of a club's front office and the ownership situation than perhaps some other candidates."

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch thinks Mike Martz's offensive philosophy stands in contrast to Jim Haslett's intent to make the Rams a run-oriented team. Miklasz: "I give Haslett credit for coordinating such a terrific campaign, reinventing himself on the fly to convince many fans and much of the St. Louis sports media that he's the right man for the job, and that he had absolutely nothing to do with the last three seasons of Rams football. The spin is precious."

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat gives the Rams' linebackers a "D" grade for their performance during the 2008 season.