Welcome to the third installment of my preseason preview. This edition takes us out to the West Coast with the NFC West. The Rams were a surprise last season as they won the division, winning 11 games and leading the NFL in points. Seattle will have also be in the running to win and what can we expect from Arizona and the new look Niners? Let’s dive in and see what the NFC West has in store this upcoming season.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams took a big step in their second season since they’ve moved to Los Angeles. Led by Head Coach Sean McVay, The Rams had a very explosive offense to finally pair with a stout defense. The offense resembled “The Greatest Show on Turf” at times, something Rams fan have not seen since the days of Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk. The biggest news from training camp is the holdout by Aaron Donald after he and the Rams failed to get a long-term deal done. Sean McVay believes progress is being made but it’ll be tough if they don’t have Donald manning the middle for their D-Line but with Quarterback Jared Goff and Running back Todd Gurley, they should be fine for the time being. If this team ultimately wants to win a Superbowl, they’ll need their best player on defense. I’m interested to see how they perform this year now that teams have had a chance to break down film on the Rams offense and key on in their tendencies. Going back to the defense, they’ve made some nice additions, notably cornerbacks, Aquib Talib and Marcus Peters. The Rams are the class of the division until someone knocks them off!
Notable Additions: CB Marcus Peters, CB Aquib Talib, WR Brandin Cooks
Notable Losses: DE Robert Quinn, LB Alec Ogletree, CB Trumain Johnson
Seattle is not the team they used to be, but they are still in the running to win their division every year, don’t take them lightly. Russell Wilson is one of the better Quarterbacks in the NFL and the defense, though not as feisty and physical as before, can still strike fear in opponents and take over games if needed. The Seahawks went out and signed Brandon Marshall after he was let go from the Giants and he should have a bounce-back year with a team that seems like a much better fit. Ever since the departure of Marshawn Lynch, Seattle’s backfield has been a revolving door and it doesn’t seem at this point that they have found a replacement that they’re comfortable with. Earl Thomas has been holding out for a new contract and Cam Chancellor is recovering from a neck injury and may not play this season. The youth movement is alive and well for Seattle.
Notable Additions: LT Duane Brown, WR Brandon Marshall, K Sebastion Janikowski
Notable Losses: TE Jimmy Graham, DE Michael Bennett, DT Sheldon Richardson, RB Thomas Rawls
The Cardinals’ season seemed to end when do-everything running back, David Johnson was lost for the entire season with a wrist injury. As a result of their struggles last season, they went out and drafted Quarterback, Josh Rosen with their first-round pick out of UCLA. The Cardinals really need some consistency out of the Quarterback position and Rosen should help in that department. Last season, three players started at QB for Arizona and none of the three played very well. Rosen is by far the best option for the Cardinals at Quarterback and he should keep defenses honest and that should mean way less loaded box looks for David Johnson. Arizona’s defense should still be solid even though they lost a few contributors in the defensive backfield, but as long as they have Cornerback, Patrick Peterson, the losses shouldn’t hurt all that much.
Notable additions: QB Sam Bradford, QB Josh Rosen, WR Christian Kirk
Notable Losses: FS Tyrann Mathieu, CB Justin Bethel
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have been slowly overhauling their roster. After a coaching change, and bringing in John Lynch as their General Manager, it’s on Kyle Shanahan to work with and develop the talent on hand and get the Niners back to the postseason. The good news for the Niners is they believe they have their franchise Quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, the next step is providing him with some big-time playmakers. Pierre Garcon will definitely be a solid target for Garoppolo but once he starts garnering more attention, who will step up? On defense, the Niners have built a nice young group. With the selection of Solomon Thomas last offseason, Rueben Foster, and DeForest Buckner, they have some talent to compete on that side of the ball in a division known for stingy defensive units.
Notable Additions: RB Alfred Morris, RB Jerrick McKinnon, CB Richard Sherman
Notable Losses: RB Carlos Hyde, DE Aaron Lynch, G Brandon Fusco