Whispers from around the NFL

• There's a sense in Cincinnati that rookie CB Johnathan Joseph will overtake veteran Tory James at some point during the season. Joseph has played so well that he's becoming harder and harder to keep off the field.

• If up-and-coming Niners RB Frank Gore has a shortcoming aside from his shaky injury history, it's his tendency to get very down on himself after making mistakes. Our sources tell us Gore has been beating himself up something awful because of his recent fumbling problems (four fumbles in the first four games).