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Know Your Enemy: Around the NFC West

Here's what's going on around the Seahawks' division. Gotta keep up on these things folks.

St. Louis Rams

Rams offense in one word: Versatile - Turf Show TimesIf you've got the time to read today, be sure to pick up Matt Waldman's interview with Matt Williamson of Scouts, Inc. Part one, which came out yesterday, will be of particular interest to St. Louis Rams fans.  In the interview, Williamson talks about the evolution of the hybrid offensive player in the NFL. The what? Those guys that create matchup problems for defenses because they have a varied enough skill set to perform more than a single role, a movable feast of Xs and Os in the playbook. 

Rams salary cap situation and free agency - Turf Show TimesA deal to end the NFL lockout and bring labor peace to the game/business for a decade may be at hand as soon as Thursday. In fact, the NFLPA player reps could vote on a deal tomorrow with owners voting on Wednesday. Details are, of course, yet to be finalized, but at this point it's a matter of splitting hairs as to what day it happens this week.  Thanks to leaks, we have a pretty solid understanding that the salary cap for teams will be around $123 million. That leaves the St. Louis Rams in good shape, with about $105 million in current cap considerations. However, the free agents they are expected to target will require some spending, and $15 million in space might not be enough to bring in a trio like DT Barry Cofield, RB Darren Sproles and S Quintin Mikell, three free agents the Rams are known to be interested in once business resumes. 

St. Louis Rams 2011 salary cap: Money to burn! - Turf Show Times: Ah clarification. There's a reason why teams hire, at considerable expense, smart people to oversee the salary cap. For the St. Louis Rams, the pairing of GM Billy Devaney and COO Kevin Demoff, a real up and comer in the league, has been a relatively unheralded part of the franchise's return from the abyss. Demoff and Devaney will have plenty of money to work with once free agency does finally open sometime next week.

What position should the Rams sign first when Free Agency starts? - Turf Show Times: Do you smell that? Smells like football is finally in the air. After the lockout is officially over there will be a mad dash to resign players, sign UDFA, and finally have free agency.  Not to mention that teams will start practices, soon after to get ready for the preseason. The most important question on everyone mind has to be who will the St. Louis Rams pick up in free agency. The Rams have a few needs and it will be hard to upgrade those positions in one short off season. If the Rams want to improve their team, they will The team biggest needs are safety, outside linebacker, backup running back, wide receiver, offensive guard, and defensive tackle. There are some players that would fill the Rams needs, but they could be gone quick when the gun blast for free agency to begin. If they want good players they will attack free agency and upgrade a couple of positions as soon as it starts. After the jump, lets take a quick look at the Rams situation at these positions.

2011 St. Louis Rams Depth Chart: Cornerbacks - Turf Show TimesThe NFL lockout is ending soon, real soon. And that means teams can get back to the business of preparing for the 2011 NFL season. Just as important, we fans can get back to the business of preparing ourselves for the season. To get back up to speed, TST is kicking off our roster review, taking a look at where the St. Louis Rams stand on the eve of free agency and camp.  Earlier today VanRam took a look at the Ram's QB situation, and now I'm going to go over the cornerbacks. The CB position hasn't been talked about much lately.  This is for good reason as it is a pretty solid situation as of right now.   More after the jump.

San Francisco 49ers:

Should the 49ers Entertain the Idea of Bringing Troy Smith Back? - Niners NationThere has been a lot of debate around here as just what to do with the 3rd quarterback spot. Some have said bring back David Carr due to an adverse contractual and financial implication. Others have mentioned bringing in an unrestricted free agent to groom and pimp out to another team because of Harbaugh's reputation of being a QB groomer. However, not many folks have mentioned, or entertained the idea of bringing Troy Smith back to compete with Carr for that 3rd spot. He was afterall the starter for a couple of games last year and didn't do too shabby.

Questions Facing The 2011 49ers: Will Aldon Smith Make An Immediate Impact? - Niners NationYesterday I covered the 49ers secondary issues as they relate to younger players taking the "next step" . However, I am under the belief that the front seven's ability to get to the quarterback plays a major role in the secondaries ability to succeed.  Last season the 49ers got some real solid pass rush from Justin Smith and Ray McDonald. However, outside of Travis LaBoy they were unable to put a lot of consistent pressure on the quarterback from the linebacker position; the more traditional pass rush specialists in a 3-4 defense. San Francisco spent the seventh pick of the 2011 NFL Draft on ultra talented but extremely raw Aldon Smith from Missouri. A lot of people questioned the pick and called it a "reach". We do know one thing for sure: Aldon Smith must contribute in 2011 for San Francisco's defense to take the next step. 

Questions Facing The 2011 49ers: Is Colin Kaepernick NFL Game Ready? - Niners Nation: Yesterday I focused on the 49ers 1st round pick, Aldon Smith. Well today, I am going to write a little about Colin Kaepernick and whether or not I believe he is NFL game ready. I was pleasantly surprised and happy that San Francisco was able to trade up for Colin Kapernick in the 2nd round of April's draft. He has all the athletic ability you want in a professional quarterback. However, there may be some issues that affect his ability to play in the NFL immediately.

Jim Harbaugh Discusses Alex Smith, 49ers QB Situation In Radio Interview - Niners NationThe Brothers Harbaugh made an appearance on ESPN Radio Chicago in part to discuss the upcoming season and in part to promote their appearance on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel tonight. The new episode of Real Sports will look at the entire family as Jim and John join their dad Jack in the coaching ranks. The episode airs at 7:00pm pacific on HBO-E and at 10:00pm pacific on HBO-W. Naturally the radio interview included a question about Alex Smith and the 49ers QB situation. As would be expected, Harbaugh stated that the coaching staff didn't know who the best players were on the team at this point. He said he was looking forward to the training camp competition that would hopefully include Alex Smith (covering his backside from further NFL complaints), Colin Kaepernick, and "we will see who are other quarterbacks are and our free agents and get going."

Questions Facing The 2011 49ers: What Will Jim Harbaugh's "Hybrid" West Coast Offense Look Like? - Niners Nation: I know that we were all excited to learn that Jim Harbaugh was going to go back to the 49ers roots with Bill Walsh's west coast offense. Over the last couple years I have despised the success that both Green Bay and Philadelphia have had with that scheme; it should be our San Francisco 49ers. Today, I am going to focus on the west coast offense and what to expect it to look like once the seasons kicks off against New Orleans in a pre-season game, less than a month away. 

Nnamdi Asomugha: Is It Possible The 49ers Are Keeping Their Interest Under The Radar? - Niners Nation: Until now I haven't really given a whole lot of thought to whether Nnamdi Asomugha will end up with the 49ers. Given that most NFL teams would love to have him in their secondary, the competition to sign him will likely be as steep as anybody else on the NFL free agent market over the next week or so. He's a Cal guy but I don't put much stock into home town discounts at this point, particularly when you've got teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with upwards of $60 million in cap space.

Arizona Cardinals:

Video(s) Of The Day: The Shootout With Green Bay - Revenge of the Birds: I promised that I would post this soon, and here it is. The video from the legendary shootout between the Cardinals and the Packers in the 2009 Postseason where Kurt Warner and Aaron Rodgers scored as many touchdowns combined as the Cardinals quarterbacks threw all of last year (Warner had five touchdown passes, Rodgers had four, and he ran for one). Lets just look at some of the stats from this game. The 96 points from this game is the most in NFL postseason history, the offenses combined for 1,024 yards which is the third most in postseason history, there were 62 first downs which is the most in postseason history. And then just look at Warner completing 29 of 33 passes for 379 yards and those five touchdowns. He had a passer rating of 154.1 which was the second highest in postseason history, his 87.9 completion percentage is the third highest, and he threw more touchdowns (five) than incomplete passes (four). Just an amazing game, unless you like watching good defensive play because there was hardly any of that. And now, time for some videos of this legendary game.

Ken Whisenhunt On Possible QB: Still Cryptic - Revenge of the BirdsArizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt was on local radio recently and talked about (what else?) who would be the next starting quarterback for the team. Everyone and their distant cousin seems to be set on the fact that Kevin Kolb will be that guy after the NFL lockout has ended, even to the chagrin of many of our faithful ROTB members. However, Whisenhunt in speaking wanted everyone to know that the team is not just targeting one guy. 

Joey Porter: Salary Cap Casualty Or 2011 Contributor - Revenge of the BirdsWe can probably all agree that the three-year contract that the Cardinals gave to linebacker Joey Porter looks kind of dumb. He was to provide veteran leadership and a boost to the Cardinals pass rush. The leadership perhaps was there, but the pass rush was not.  He only had five sacks on the year and he is expected to be among the first players to be cut after the lockout is lifted. But a look at what he did this last year might surprise you.