Whispers from around the NFL

• While the Niners' Andre Carter has looked good rushing the passer in his new stand-up "elephant" LB role, we hear he continues to have real problems in coverage, where his reactions have been more mechanical than instinctive.

• We hear that Patriots first-round pick Logan Mankins has made a smooth transition to the NFL level and appears to have solidified his starting OLG spot. In fact, Patrick Pass ran behind him for New England's first touchdown vs. the Saints in the second preseason game.

Aaron Brooks Brooks