NFC West Breakdown

Will Frank Gore get as many carries this year?

Here is a breakdown of skill players for each respective team in the NFC West to give owners an idea where each team’s offense currently lies…

Seattle Seahawks

Another season, another quarterback scramble can be found in Seattle.  This time around, Pete Carroll and company have decided on Matt Flynn.  To try to cover themselves in case Flynn flops, Tarvaris Jackson is back, as well as draft pick, Russell Wilson.  That kind of QB roll call leaves fantasy owners with the thought that the Seahawks will rely on their running game first…

That brings us to Marshawn Lynch, a difficult situation, to say the least.  Lynch would have been a valuable pick as thee guy in the Seattle backfield.  Now, with his off the field troubles getting in the way, it’ll be tough to depend on him as you head into your draft.  Look for Leon Washington and Kregg Lumpkin to battle it out for the carries, until Lynch returns…if, he returns.

Who won’t be returning is Mike Williams, after the underperforming wideout was cut as camp began.  That leaves an interesting potpourri of receivers left on the roster.  Sidney Rice hopes to get beyond his numerous injury issues to show he still has more than enough skill to be a #1 WR in the NFL again.  Doug Baldwin stepped in last year, with Rice on the shelf, and did decent enough to garner some attention.  Ben Obomanu and Golden Tate both have talent, so Seattle’s hope is at least one of the two will work out.

At Tight End, you have two names, but they both have questions.  Zach Miller had some moments in Oakland, but really fell off last season.  Was that because of the quarterback inconsistency or the development of Oakland’s wide receivers as better options?  Or, was it the deterioration of Miller?  The other tight end is an even bigger name that’s fallen off recently…Kellen Winslow, Jr.  Will Winslow find a rebirth in Seattle?  Have to believe Winslow has something left in the tank, but how much is the question.

San Francisco 49’ers

Was there anyone that surprised last season more than Alex Smith?  Smith went from bust to legit NFL starting QB, thanks to Jim Harbaugh’s coaching.  Could Smith return and look even better?  It’s possible.  But, you have to wonder, why were the 49’ers chasing Peyton Manning in the off-season if they were confident that Smith was the man?  It could be that Manning was just too darn good to not try to scoop up.  Or, it could be the 49’ers believe Smith isn’t the answer.

You think 49’ers, you think Frank Gore over the past several years.  Gore will still get a good amount of carries.  However, don’t be shocked if the 49’ers start to mix it up a little more in the backfield.  Free agent signee Brandon Jacobs will get his work in, especially on the goal-line.  Kendall Hunter is a good change of pace back and will be challenged by explosive rookie, LaMichael James.  That’s a lot of talent with only so many snaps.  It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

Talking about interesting, how about the return of Randy Moss.  Moss finds himself in San Fran, after sitting out all of last season.  He’ll bring a different dimension to this offense, but who really knows if he’s got anything left.  If he doesn’t, the 49’ers did a good job adding to this position:  Mario Manningham, Ted Ginn and draft pick AJ Jenkins round out what should be a deep position.  Michael Crabtree returns as the #1 wideout, as 49’ers fans hope this is the year the talented Crabtree can put it all together and be the beast many expected him to be.

Vernon Davis put it all together as a leader last season and now San Francisco hopes he can break out and produce as the top-flight tight end that he has the skills to be.  For that to happen, San Francisco has to do a better job getting him the football, but you wonder if that’ll be possible with the additions on the outside.

St. Louis Rams

The problem is NOT Sam Bradford.  Bradford is talented and has the skill to be a darn good quarterback in the league.  The problem has been switching the offensive game plan year after year after year.  The latest incarnation will be led by Brian Schottenheimer.  Yes, the same guy who got canned from the Jets Offensive Coordinator job after last season.  Bradford’s potential will continue to be limited, until they settle on a system and let him grown within that system.

The leader of this offense has long been Steven Jackson, but the years of pounding and injuries are starting to add up.  Jackson heads into this season at 29-years-old and the Rams will look to run him a little less this season.  Newly drafted Isaiah Pead will be leaned on to keep Jackson’s legs fresh.

At receiver, the Rams have a mixed up roster of names.  Danny Amendola is returning after injury and will be their most consistent option in the slot.  Brandon Gibson, whom the Rams acquired from the Eagles a few years ago, is looking to take over the #1 job and will be challenged by rookie Brian Quick and veteran Steve Smith.  Wait and see how this position looks after the dust of early camp settles.

Lance Kendricks is the go-to TE, but until the offense takes shape, it’d be questionable to invest much in this position as an owner.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals put all their eggs in the Kevin Kolb basket and year one didn’t go so well.  As a matter of fact, it left Cardinals fans seriously contemplating whether or not John Skelton was a better option.  We’ll see if Kolb can hold onto his job.

The running back position is what we’d like to call a “fluid situation”.  Beanie Wells would be the guy in the backfield, if he could stay healthy.  After a couple of seasons of being dinged up every week, that looks unlikely.  The Cardinals are hoping Ryan Williams returns healthy and ready to contribute.  If he does, Arizona actually has a backfield combination of Wells and Williams that could be incredibly effective.

Talk about effective, if the Arizona wide receivers follow through on their potential, there’s no reason why they won’t produce.  Larry Fitzgerald is Larry Fitzgerald; we know what he brings to the table.  Now, you take Fitzgerald and pair him up with highly regarded rookie Michael Floyd and the talent is there.  Arizona rounds out the wideout position with Early Doucet and Andre Roberts.  The only thing that could get in the way of this corps putting up numbers is the QB position…

The Cardinals will try to get as much as possible out of Todd Heap, but it’s clear that Heap isn’t the guy he used to be do to age and injury.  And, because of that, the expectations shouldn’t be too high this season at the tight end position in Arizona…

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