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The NFC West, Once Laughing Stock of the NFL...

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  • The NFC West, Once Laughing Stock of the NFL...

    Is now on on its way in my opinion to becoming one of the better division in the league, maybe not this year, but in two years I fully believe this division will be on of the strongest in the NFL, when for so long now we have been calling it the weakest. Here's my logic behind all this...

    9-7 NFC West Division Champs Super Bowl XLIII Loser

    The Arizona Cardinals won their first playoff game sine 1998, and played in their first ever Super Bowl last year. This young team has prospered under the guidance of head coach Ken Whisenhunt, and the play of a stellar offense led by Kurt Warner under center. For awhile now, the Cardinals were viewed as a breakout team but were consistently 8-8, 7-9, and missed the playoffs, before the season this year was no different, but 2008 was the greatest season the Cardinals have ever experienced in all their years as an NFL franchise.

    The Cardinals have one of the best offenses in the league even without a consistent run game, and below average play from their offensive line, thanks mostly to Pro Bowl QB Kurt Warner, and All-Pro receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, both arguably the best receivers in the NFL, also complimented by up and comer Steve Breaston. Behind the 38 year old Kurt Warner rests a top ten pick, QB Matt Leinart, still waiting for his chance to shine, but Kurt Warner is a proven vet and has been an MVP, and Super Bowl winner back with the Rams, unfortunately for Leinart, he will have to keep on waiting. All the star offensive players, other than Warner are under 30 years old, Fitzgerald, Boldin, Breaston, and even 1st year RB Tim Hightower who did play well in beginning of the season but who's play dropped off later on. This offense will only continue to improve as the running game and pass protection become more consistent, which the Cardinals look to do in the upcoming draft.

    The Cardinals defense was not an excellent defense, but in their defense they were are a young team with a lot of potential. They run a 4-3/3-4 hybrid system, which allows Darnell Dockett to prosper in his DT/DE position, where he might not get amazing sacks, but if you watch a Cardinals game he is a force on every play, always pressuring the QB, and getting deep past the line of scrimmage. There also is Calais Campbell waiting to take over at DE, who should get his chance to start this year, he looked great every time he got the chance in 08'. The defense is led by Karlos Dansby, one of the best and most versatile LBs in the league, he is what makes this defense goes, without him this would be one of the worse units in the league, along with long time Card, Adrian Wilson they lead this defense. Once the Cardinals acquire an elite pass rusher, this defense will be an excellent one, although, Travis LaBoy, Bertrand Berry, and Chike Okeafor are decent pass rushers, the Cardinals need a difference maker. The secondary is also very intriguing with Adrian Wilson, a hard-hitting SS leading the bunch. Antrel Rolle though disappointing as a CB, is dangerous anytime he has the ball in his hands, I think another year at FS, and he can be a great playmaker in the secondary. Most importantly comes rookie Domonique Rodgers-Chromartie, who has the potential to be one of the best CBs in the league, with everything you ever wanted in a CB, size, speed, hands, he is physical, etc.

    The core of this young team is under 30
    Fitzgerald Age: 25
    Boldin Age: 28
    Dockett Age: 27
    DRC Age: 23
    Breaston Age: 25
    Campbell Age: 23
    Adrian Wilson Age: 29

    and I expect this team to only improve and become one of the elite teams in the NFL, if Ken Whisenhunt does the right things to make it so.

    Prediction: 10-6 NFC West Champs, win the first round, out in the 2nd.

    7-9 led by new coach Mike Singletary

    The 49ers may be a better team than some people think. I by no means think Shaun Hill is a franchise QB, and I fully believe if Mark Sanchez is there he should be drafted, but Hill is solid enough to lead this team to a playoff berth. This is a young team, led by a fiery new coach and I see big changes in this teams future, and I think it will be for the good.

    Like the Cardinals the core of this team is very young. They have some All-Pro caliber players on this roster like Frank Gore and Patrick Willis. The offense is very capable of becoming a very good unit in the NFL. Shaun Hill is a capable QB, not a great one, but he is capable of winning games. At RB, if Frank Gore gets the blocking he is one of the best RBs in the game, as long as they don't wear him out, by overusing him. The offensive line looks to be improving and LT Joe Staley looks like he can be a franchise Tackle for this team. Led by vet Isaac Bruce, this receiving corp. has potential to be a decent one, with Josh Morgan showing boatloads of potential, and Arnaz Battle has always been a solid #2/slot man. Lastly if anyone can put Vernon Davis on the right path to reaching his potential it's Mike Singletary, as seen by his mid-game explosion on Davis during the season.

    On the defensive side of the ball, Mike Nolan brought in the 3-4, though Singletary has more experience with a 4-3, Singletary is more of a motivational guy than an Xs and Os coach. Patrick Willis is not human, he is a machine, and the boogie man checks his bed every night to make sure Willis isn't there. Willis is an animal and going into his 3rd year, he is easily one of the best LBs in the game, he is the face of that defense and a franchise player. Other than Willis, there are some other solid pieces on that defense, such as Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Nate Clements, and Mark Roman, these players are key pieces to the defense, the emergence of Ray McDonald only helps make Willis's job easier, by giving him a very good 3-4 front, with Smith and McDonald in front of him.

    Core players
    Patrick Willis Age: 24
    Frank Gore Age: 25
    Justin Smith Age: 29
    Ray McDonald Age: 24
    Nate Clements Age: 29
    Joe Staley Age: 24

    Once the 49ers get their receivers to reach their potential, get a franchise QB, and just add a decent pass rusher or two I fully expect them to become one of the better teams in the NFL, with a draft like Mark Sanchez in the first, and Connor Barwin in 2nd it is very possible.

    Prediction: 8-8 Miss the playoffs by a game

    4-12 an injury riddled season, but yet still a very talented team.

    The Seahawks have annually been the winners of the NFC West, and last year I thought no different. Unfortunately for Seattle, injuries plagued their season, a weak offense became weaker with injuries to QB Matt Hasselback, Deion Branch, Walter Jones and Nate Burleson, and those were just some offensive injuries. The team crashed and burned, with all ready a very weak offensive unit becoming one of worse off in the league, and a talented defense losing players, things just went from bad to worse and by the 5th week the blowout to the Giants, really symbolized that the season was over for the Seahawks.

    However with such a disappointing season last year, the Seahawks are back in my opinion ready to contend for the division title yet again. Walter Jones and Matt Hasselback will both returning at full health, and if Deion Branch can ever stay healthy he is a deadly weapon for Hasselback. Not only is the Seahawks offense up and running, they acquired pro bowl receiver, TJ Houshmanzadeh to be the #1 receiver in their offense. For once I am actually liking how the Seahawks offense is looking. If the offensive line can play decent this will be a very well functioning offensive unit. With a proven QB in Hasselback, a decent back in Julius Jones, an emerging TE in John Carlson, and a pretty decent WR corp led by TJ Houshyamomma.

    On the defensive side of the ball the Seahawks were always very talented even though they were terribly disappointing last year, I expect a bounce back this year. Julia Peterson is gone, but Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill still make one of better linebacker corps. in the league, no matter who is playing SAM. The defensive line, added Cory Redding in the Julian Peterson trade, and Redding will now have some help on the line where he can prosper in his normal UT role, unlike what he did with the Lions last year, along with 10+ sack guy Patrick Kerney, and some young guys with potential to be very good DEs like Lawrence Jackson and Baraka Atkins. The only part of this defense I am not liking is the secondary, in 07' Marcus Trufant looked to be one of the best CBs in the league, but unfortunately his play dropped off signifigantly, as well as other CBs on the roster like Kelly Jennings, and Jordan Babineaux. Deon Grant is a solid safety but next to him Brian Russell is nothing more than a special teamer, if the secondary can improve its play a bit, the defense will be back to its former self.

    The Seahawks have a very good core of players who have been to probowls before or deserved one.
    Matt Hasselback Age: 33
    TJ Houshmandzadeh Age: 31
    Patrick Kerney Age: 32
    Lofa Tatupu Age: 26
    Leroy Hill Age: 26
    Marcus Trufant Age: 28

    Although and older core of stars, and producers, they have just as much potential as the other teams in this division because they have some rising stars that I did not mention like John Carlson and Lawrence Jackson. I think this team is best top ten pick team poised for a playoff run. With Eugene Monroe or Jason Smith at 4. the offensive line will be much improved as will the team.

    Prediction: 9-7 barely miss playoffs.

    2-14 the cellar of the West again, however they signed Steve Spagnuolo who I fully believe can turn them around.

    For the past two years the Rams have finished their season 2-14 and in the cellar of the NFC West, and although I believe they'll finish last in the West again in 09' I think they will be much improved under the guidance of new coach Steve Spagnuolo. The Rams are not a team devoid of talent, they do have talent in certain spots of their roster.

    The Rams are a hard team to really analyze, but one thing is for certain, the offensive line needs a serious makeover. Orlando Pace has been cut, and was injury riddled and on the wrong side of 30 anyway, and former 1st round pick Alex Barron is a bust, the Rams are in a good spot at 2. in the draft, where they are guaranteed one of the top 2 OTs in the draft, now they just need to pick the right one, the potential filled Jason Smith, or the more pro ready Eugene Monroe, to be their franchise LT, and keep a once Pro Bowl caliber QB off his back. The Rams also need to seek a future replacement for Bulger who I never thought too highly of anyway. All the offensive pieces that made the greatest show on turf are now officially all gone, with the release of Torry Holt and Orlando Pace, with Kurt Warner in Arizona, and Isaac Bruce in San Fran. The hope of the offense falls on one of the best RBs in the league Steven Jackson, but he can only do so much with a very limited passing game, and a terrible offensive line, and I've also always been intrigued by what Brian Leonard can do when he used the right way.

    Defensively the Rams seem to have a better immediate future, especially with the new scheme Spagnuolo is brining to St. Louis. Chris Long at DE, and Adam Carriker at DT, are pretty good duo to build upon, and the front seven is in IMO the most important thing to build on in all of football. There are some other solid players like Will Witherspoon, Leonard Little, Chris Draft, and James Butler, to go along with that defense, but the real potential star is in the secondary, and his name is Ron Bartell, he really played great last season, and definitely has the potential to a top corner. Last, but not least the Rams also have one of the best kickers in the game today in Josh Brown, he has a great leg, and excellent accuracy.

    Stars and people I believe can develop into excellent players.

    Steven Jackson Age: 25
    Josh Brown Age: 30
    Brian Leonard Age: 25
    Chris Long Age: 24
    Adam Carriker Age:24
    Ron Bartell Age: 27

    Although St. Louis is in the worst shape out of all the NFC West teams, I believe, that they will improve in 09', and just like the other NFC West potentially be a force to be reckoned with, within the next few years.

    Now the NFC West IMO, is the laughing stock of the league, I truly believe in a few years they can be one of the strongest division in the NFL. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated, whether you agree or disagree. Depending on the response to this one I may or may not make another thread analyzing another division, like NFC East, AFC North, or another division with an interesting story line.

    Prediction: 5-11 bottom of the NFC West
    Last edited by Malaka; 04-19-2009, 03:53 PM.

    Bone Krusher, the best

  • #2
    Not much has changed. NFC/ AFC west won't be good divisions next year.

    What do the vikings and marijuana have in common? Every time you put them in a bowl
    they get smoked.

    2010-2011 Super Bowl Champions
    Hint:Not the Bears.


    • #3
      Originally posted by TitleTown088 View Post
      Not much has changed. NFC/ AFC west won't be good divisions next year.
      maybe not now, but both are taking steps into the right direction (we'll have to see about the broncos), or so it seems.


      • #4
        Originally posted by TitleTown088 View Post
        Not much has changed. NFC/ AFC west won't be good divisions next year.
        But players develop, I feel the 49ers and the Cardinals will be very competitive teams next year. I also think the Seahawks will bounce back, if they can manage to stay healthy.

        Bone Krusher, the best


        • #5
          Sorry but I disagree, I just don't see it becoming that good of a division next year, it will probably be back up to where it was in like 2 years.


          • #6
            I am not saying the division will be great next year, in what I just wrote I mentioned in a year or two I believe it can be a very good division, IMO the AFC West is officially the worst.

            Bone Krusher, the best


            • #7
              i could see why, Seattle always used to get an easy ride to the playoffs, St. Louis before them did the same, and 49ers before them. Arizona finally showed they could compete.


              • #8
                not yet, but all 4 teams are taking steps in the direction of respectability. excellent write-up though.

                RIP ST


                • #9
                  where's Toonster in all this? in the IRC the other night he was talking very positively about the Niners and it made me happy haha

                  Pick the Winners Champion 2008 | 2011


                  • #10
                    I'm not sure why for the past few years people have wanted to believe the Niners are a better team than they are. Must be the old mystique.

                    Nobody cares about your stupid fantasy team.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bearsfan_51 View Post
                      I'm not sure why for the past few years people have wanted to believe the Niners are a better team than they are. Must be the old mystique.
                      You don't believe they're a team on the rise? I mean surely there not going in the wrong direction right now...

                      Bone Krusher, the best


                      • #12
                        The NFC East, NFC North, and NFC South will all be better. So that makes it the worst division in the conference.

                        The AFC East, AFC North, and AFC South will be better. They have a chance at beatting out the AFC West and not being the absolute worst division in the NFL. If being the second worst division in the league makes them not a laughing stock in your mind then yes you are correct.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Malaka View Post
                          You don't believe they're a team on the rise? I mean surely there not going in the wrong direction right now...
                          I think the Niners are one of the worst run organizations in the NFL. I've believed that for years. I believed that a few years ago when they signed Nate Clements and drafted Vernon Davis, I believed it when I said Mike Nolan would be fired and everyone said I was crazy, I believe it now when I say they have HUGE issues at very important positions, and Mike Singletary is being massively overrated as both a talent evaluator and a head coach.

                          At some point I'm sure all the high picks will help turn them around, but it's a pretty lousy organization.

                          Nobody cares about your stupid fantasy team.


                          • #14
                            The three top 10 picks in the draft this year shouldn't hurt them any ;-)

                            It's a division that has a lot of young talent that has been able to get some experience, but mostly because the teams are still pretty bad. I think the Rams are a few years away even though Spags could do some nice things there, the 49ers I think get overrated a little as BF51 said although they have the potential to be a solid team, and we'll see what the Seahawks can do if they stay healthy. I don't see the division taking a major step forward next season though.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by GB12 View Post
                              The NFC East, NFC North, and NFC South will all be better. So that makes it the worst division in the conference.

                              The AFC East, AFC North, and AFC South will be better. They have a chance at beatting out the AFC West and not being the absolute worst division in the NFL. If being the second worst division in the league makes them not a laughing stock in your mind then yes you are correct.
                              I clearly wrote that I don't think they'll change much next year... I said in a year or two they will be one of the better divisions in the league. I never said this upcoming season they will no longer be in the bottom two, I still believe that there are many divisions better than the NFC West, but I see it on the rise, and no longer as bad as it once was.

                              Bone Krusher, the best



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