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CAM INMAN: INSIDE THE NFL (fun read - west coast perspective)


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Here's what we scooped by trick-or-treating around the NFL:

• Stop pinning the 49ers' woes on their "young" defense. Sunday's starters included Bryant Young (13th year in the NFL), Walt Harris (11th), Derek Smith (10th), Jeff Ulbrich (seventh), Mark Roman (seventh) and Marques Douglas (sixth).

Average years of experience among the 49ers defensive starters: 5.8 years. Average experience among the Raiders starters on their eighth-ranked defense: 3.8 years. All of the Raiders' defensive starters are in their fourth season or less, outside of 12th-year tackle Warren Sapp and sixth-year end Derrick Burgess.

• Next up for the 49ers are the Minnesota Vikings, whose coach, Brad Childress, said after Monday night's loss to the New England Patriots: "If you can duplicate it, it's a blueprint to go after the Minnesota Vikings." OK then, 49ers, follow the pass-happy Patriots lead and send out your own coach-quarterback combo that's won three Super Bowls: Bill Walsh and Joe Montana.

• Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had four passes intercepted against the Raiders. The Colts' Peyton Manning is on pace to have five passes intercepted all season.

• Where's the national uproar over Shawne Merriman's four-game suspension for failing a steroid test? He's the NFL's co-leader in sacks and the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Imagine how Albert Pujols, baseball's fastest-rising star, would get ripped if he tested positive for steroids in the midst of a championship-caliber season.

• Bet two months ago you didn't expect to see these quarterbacks playing in Week 8: David Garrard, Bruce Gradkowski, Damon Huard, Sage Rosenfels, Tony Romo sits to pee, Seneca Wallace and Andrew Walter.

• Someone please tell "Ocho Cinco" (aka Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson, No. 85) that his team is a mediocre "Cuatro-Tres," or 4-3.

• Chiefs running back Larry Johnson pulled a funny Halloween gag by impersonating coach Herm Edwards in a live press conference. Can you see any 49ers or Raiders daring to do the same to Mike Nolan or Art Shell?

• Patriots coach Bill Belichick dons a cut-up sweatshirt straight out of "Flashdance" for a nationally televised game and, yet, the NFL won't let Nolan wear a suit and tie on the sideline?...so true. :laugh:

• The 49ers lost 12 fumbles in each of their first three Super Bowl championship seasons. They have an NFL-high 12 fumbles this season. (Stats courtesy of Dallas Morning News' NFL guru Rick Gosselin.)

• Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer said of Falcons counterpart Michael Vick: "He's like nobody else in our league -- a Reggie Bush-type player." Uh, last check, Bush is in the league, he's not living up to the hype and he had more passes intercepted (one) on Sunday than Vick (none).

• The St. Louis Cardinals' improbable run to the World Series crown should remind everyone what the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers also did: Teams that get hot at the right time win championships, and those that don't are called the Indianapolis Colts.

• Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, a virtual kissing booth Sunday night, returned to his senses Monday and pointed out that with so many tight NFC divisional races, "it's anybody's game."

• NFL commissioner Roger Goodell went on Los Angeles radio Monday, and although he reiterated the league's desire to return there, you don't get the sense of any urgency. "What everyone has to understand is that the city of Los Angeles is a great city with or without the NFL," Goodell said. "The NFL has done very well without the city of Los Angeles. We think that we'd be better together, but it has to be a solution that works for the community and the NFL."

• If the Tennessee Titans suspend cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones today as expected, he'll join two other University of West Virginia products suspended this season -- the Raiders' Jerry Porter and the Bengals' Chris Henry.

• With winds gusting up to 40 mph in the Buccaneers' loss at Giants Stadium, Jon Gruden had rookie quarterback Gradkowski attempt 48 passes while running back Carnell Williams got a career-low eight carries. :doh:

• The Colts' Dwight Freeney, the 2005 NFL sack champion, has one-half sack this year, three fewer than No. 1 overall draft pick Mario Williams of the Houston Texans.

• Three of the 49ers' past four games have been 40-something laughers. But don't laugh in front of Nolan. When asked about players' reactions after such blowouts, he said Monday: "There's only one that disturbs me. And that's when someone thinks there's some kind of comedy involved."

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