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12-31-11 Around The NFC West: Black Monday, Gruden, And Other Notes

On the eve of a new year it's time to look back and reflect on what we have accomplished this 2011. 2011 for the NFC West was a mixed bag. The Cardinals and Rams were thought to compete for the West title, while the Niners and Seahawks were supposed to rebuild. Hit the jump to find out what's up in the West.

San Francisco 49ers:

NFL Coaching Carousel: Will The 49ers Take A Spin? - Niners Nation
While the 49ers will thankfully be getting ready for their first playoff game in nearly a decade, the big story tomorrow night and early into Monday will likely be several teams handing out pink slips on what is often referred to as Black Monday. Don Banks put together his run-down of potential firings on Black Monday as well as possible hiring candidates for those jobs.

Joe Hastings Promoted From Practice Squad - Niners Nation

In some of the least surprising news of the season, the San Francisco 49ers officially promoted wide receiver Joe Hastings from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. The 49ers released Braylon Edwards earlier this week and waited until today to make the decision official. The rumors have been swirling since John Matthews told beat writers Hastings was going to get promoted. Since then, every press conference involving Jim Harbaugh, Greg Roman and Alex Smith has featured at least one question about Hastings.

49ers Players Under 30 - Niners Nation
As the 49ers prepare to wrap up their 2011 regular season and get ready for the coming postseason, it is always interesting to consider how the team was compiled and what it holds for the future. The 49ers entered the 2011 season with one of the younger 53-man rosters in the NFL. The roster ages have changed a bit across the league since then, but there has been nothing too dramatic.

Seattle Seahawks:

Seahawks vs Cardinals: Know Your Enemy, the Revenge of the Birds - Field Gulls
Our own Jess Root, of Revenge of the Birds, gives a little scouting on where the Cardinals are at this point in the season, how they're feeling about their team, who to watch on Sunday, and some more.

St. Louis Rams:

NFL Coaching Rumors: Jon Gruden Staying At ESPN - Turf Show Times
Potential NFL head coaching candidate Jon Gruden reaffirmed his loyalty to his corporate overlords. Gruden told the Tampa Tribune that he plans to stay in the Monday Night Football broadcast booth for 2012 rather than get back into the coaching business.

49ers Vs. Rams: A Look Ahead - Turf Show Times
This wasn't where the NFC West was supposed to be in Week 17. All of the pundits of Delphi told us that the St. Louis Rams would be tuning up for a playoff appearance this week. The San Francisco 49ers would be chasing Andrew Luck and the top pick in the draft. And here we are. Script flipped. By about 4 p.m. Eastern, tomorrow, we'll know if the 49ers have a first-round bye in the playoffs and if the Rams have the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.