Know Your Enemy: Around the NFC West

Here is a little look around the NFC West so you know what's going on with the Seahawks' principal adversaries. Check 'em.

St Louis Rams:

Robbins among the best 4-3 defensive tackles - Turf Show Times: "One of the most talked about free agent matches for the St. Louis Rams is Giants DT Barry Cofield, lockout or not. Cofield's own merits aside, it is hard for me to imagine that he would be so desirable had it not been for the success of Fred Robbins last year. According to Pro Football Focus, Robbins ranks as the tenth best 4-3 defensive tackle over the last three years.  When the Rams signed Robbins last spring to a three-year, $11.25 million contract, I don't think even the most optimistic fan believed he would have the impact he did with the Rams front four. It was clearly a changed unit last year in part because the Rams finally added that presence in the middle they had been seeking through a number of failed draft picks."

Rams free agency: The keepers - Turf Show Times: "Arguing about the dates aside, there should be enough progress in the NFL labor negotiations to signal that the end of the lockout is certain. When that does happen, the St. Louis Rams, whether they play the August 7 Hall of Fame Game or not, will have a long list of things to do prior to their season opener with the Philadelphia Eagles. One of the first priorities will be making some decisions about their own free agents, who to keep and who to drop. I want to kick off our Rams to-do list series with a look at which free agents they should try and keep. Operating under the assumption that FA returns to the four-year rules, here's the list of free agents." 

Kolb, schmolb; Bradford still the best in the West - Turf Show Times: "Quarterbacks from the other three teams in the NFC West might not be a complete joke once the lockout ends. It's widely believed now that Philadelphia will trade Kevin Kolb to either the Arizona Cardinals or the Seattle Seahawks for a princely sum of draft picks and or players. Kolb, schmolb. The St. Louis Rams with Sam Bradford will still have the best QB in the division, according to Matt Williamson at ESPN/Scouts, Inc.  In a chat with fans this week, Williamson was asked if Kolb came to the NFC West would the former Eagle be the better QB than Bradford. He answered simply: no."

Attorneys General are Football Fans? - Turf Show Times: "The next shot in the NFL-Players legal world was fired on July 7. The Attorney General for the state of New York has announced they don't want to miss out on the legal fun and games: "While we are hopeful that the NFL and its players will reach an agreement to end the ongoing lockout in the near future, this office will take all appropriate steps to protect New Yorkers, many of whom rely on the significant economic activity generated by the NFL," Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Thursday." MICHAEL VIRTANEN, Associated Press The state of New York will take a look at (insert a ominous music intro) possible anti-trust violations by the league under the New York state's Donnelly Act."

San Francisco 49ers:

49ers Draft Pick Aldon Smith Thinks People Don't Know His Full Potential - Niners Nation: "This past Friday, SI.com put together a short feature on 49ers first round draft pick Aldon Smith. There's nothing earth shattering in the feature but it's nice to get a few comments from Smith. Although he has appeared at some of the San Jose State workouts and was recently at the NFLPA rookie symposium, we haven't heard much in the way of comments from the soon to be outside linebacker."

San Francisco 49ers Rookie Depth Chart Battles - Niners Nation: "Over at Mocking The Draft, they're putting together a series of posts entitled "Rookie Depth Chart Battles." They look at the various rookies and discuss their competition heading into camp. Amidst the discussion surrounding the player and his competition they provide a percentage chance of winning the battle. Back in mid-May they took a look at 49ers first round pick Aldon Smith and gave him an 85% of "winning the battle." They don't acknowledge the potential departure of Manny Lawson, which I think is a bigger reason Smith would move up the depth chart. He has a lot of raw talent, but the lockout will delay that development while Lawson's departure would hasten his move up the chart. In looking over the 49ers 2011 draft picks, do you see one particular player moving up the depth chart faster than others? We'll provide some more specific breakdowns as we get closer to training camp but in the meantime let's discuss the entire group."

Matt Williamson's NFC West Player Rankings: Three 49ers in Top Five - Niners Nation: "Most of us have become familiar with Scouts, Inc. writer and former scout Matt Williamson over the past year or two.  Mike Sando routinely referenced Williamson in his coverage of players within the NFC West as well as potential free agents, draft prospects, etc. Williamson regularly writes his own content for ESPN nowadays and this morning he released his player rankings for our beloved division.  Among the top five players listed, the 49ers have three guys: Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, and Vernon Davis."

Arizona Cardinals:

Looking Back: What We Said Last Year About Greg Toler And Envisioning The Future - Revenge of the Birds: "During this offseason, we the fans are stuck looking at old highlights and clips from games past wondering what the Cardinals could do next season once the lockout is over. The quarterback controversy remains, but now a "problem" concerning the depth chart in the secondary has risen to the forefront.  Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a surefire talent if he can continue to give the effort and energy that we saw back in 2009 when he made the Pro Bowl. Patrick Peterson will be a shutdown corner and a great return man if he can replicate what he did as a Tiger in Louisiana.  As we have discussed this tandem, one man has gone overlooked. Greg Toler did a fantastic job last year after moving into the starting lineup once Bryant McFadden was traded back to the Steelers. Can the Cardinals truly afford to make him a #3 guy and a nickel corner or should he remain a starter?"

Who Is Kyle Orton Really As A Quarterback? - Revenge of the Birds: "Over the past months, there have been very heated debates about quarterbacks here in the community. Kevin Kolb provokes the most passion for and against. The vocal part of the community is more against him, but looking at the polls show that Cardinals fans are mostly in favor of bringing him in.  Of course, he is not the only quarterback we have considered. Probably considered the next favorite name in the mix is Kyle Orton, but he also causes a lot of debate."

Former Cardinal wants Vince Young as QB - ArizonaSports.com: "Former Cardinals defensive lineman Bertrand Berry believes Titans quarterback Vince Young would be the best answer for Arizona at quarterback. "The next team that lands him is going to get a very motivated guy that has a lot to prove. If he gets somebody who believes and trusts him, he can be a great quarterback," said Berry on the Sports 620 KTAR's Gambo and Ash show. Berry remembers having a difficult time having to game-plan for the former Texas quarterback because of his ability to beat teams with his arm and feet. "He presents a dual threat. His instincts are very good in the pocket. He would be an asset to any team that picked him up," said Berry."

Kerry Collins Retirement Could Affect Cardinals In QB Search - Revenge of the Birds: "In what caused a mixed reaction among football fans, especially in Tennessee, quarterback Kerry Collins announced his retirement after 16 season in the NFL. He will never be remembered as one of the greatest quarterbacks of our era, but he had himself a solid career, throwing for more than 40,000 yards in his career and taking the New York Giants to the Super Bowl.  While it may not have really surprised anyone that he retired, his leaving football could have an effect on the NFC quarterback scene, perhaps even the Arizona Cardinals."


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