NFC West Preview/Rant (7/24)

Posted: July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

The NFC West could field four teams with winning seasons in 2014. The Super Bowl Seahawks being the most highly touted in the division, San Francisco, Arizona, and St. Louis also played spectacular throughout last season. Seattle reaffirmed their emphasis on defense and running offense through the draft, but may see some underrated aspects of their team suffer.

Seattle’s receiving corps is already much weaker this off-season than it was in February. Sure-handed and equally underappreciated Golden Tate will be missed on an offense that thrives on ball control. The retirement of Sidney Rice leaves the Super Bowl champs thin in the receiving corps. ‘Hawks fans will see a significant dropoff in the receiving talent between Percy Harvin and the rest of the group. Amidst Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and rookie burner Paul Richardson (all promising but unfulfilled talents) someone will have to surface as a reliable pair of hands for Wilson to turn to when Harvin is lost in double coverage. 

On the flipside, the Cardinals passing attack is about to take flight after drafting John Brown, a speedy wide receiver out of Pittsburg State (KS). With The Larry Fitzgerald, an established 1,000 yard wideout in Michael Floyd and the arrival of John Brown, the Cardinals could be easily go three or four wide regularly this season and put defenses like Seattle’s elite secondary to the test. The addition of quick-footed Ted Ginn Jr. and rookie standout TE Troy Niklas will give Carson Palmer the best receiving corps since Chad Johnson, T.J. Whosyourmama, and Chris Henry who combined for 3,055 yards receiving and 25 touchdowns in 2006. 

The fearsome foursome is back for the St. Louis Rams as Robert Quinn and Chris Long lock up the bookends and Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford and rookie wunderkind Aaron Donald will each compete for two interior spots on the defensive line.The Rams aggressive front seven will make their young secondary’s job a little easier with the constant pressure on opposing QB’s. Their offensive line and oft-injured QB will hold St. Louis back from taking the next step in a tight NFC. Still, St. Louis will be a dangerous team to face in the wild card round for an unprepared Atlanta or Dallas who might wander into the playoffs. Watch the Rams to continue to upset stiff competition in 2014. 

All the pieces are in place for San Francisco to win a championship, but Kaepernick needs to prove he will play up to his $61 million dollar-guaranteed contract by pushing through elite NFL defenses. The defense is stacked at linebacker and very solid in the secondary and defensive line. Their offensive line is among the best in the league and their backfield is very deep with a deceptively talented receiving corps now featuring Bills export Stevie Johnson and undersized rookie Bruce Ellington. The only unsure factor remaining is Kaepernick’s big-game play. The NFL has seen him dominate second-rate defenses. But can he show true QB prowess against elite defenses? That’s what $61 million dollar QB’s get paid to do. And that’s what’s missing for the Harbaugh-Kaepnernick experiment to become a success.

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