Whispers from around the NFL

• Perhaps more remarkable than the nine tackles that Lions rookie WLB Ernie Sims recorded in his NFL debut was the fact that he called his effort "average." We're told that's precisely the kind of attitude Rod Marinelli's new regime is hoping to instill in the Lions' locker room.

• Our Falcons sources compare DT Grady Jackson to NBA legend Dennis Rodman. Rodman could dominate a game without scoring a point, and Jackson can influence a game without making a tackle or recording a sack.

• We're not suggesting at all that the Seahawks might be thinking about cutting the cord with WR Darrell Jackson down the road now that Deion Branch has been added to the receiving corps. However, it's worth noting that Jackson remains far from happy with his current contract, which included oral promises for improvements that he feels have yet to be met. Suffice it to say, Branch has given the Hawks flexibility at the WR spot if Jackson's contract eventually becomes a big issue.