The San Francisco 49ers are predictably the favorites to win the NFC West and among the favorites to reach the Super Bowl after consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances. Even with the uncertainty at quarterback as far as whether Brock Purdy or Trey Lance (or Sam Darnold, maybe?) will be the starter, the overall roster figures to be one of the NFL’s best.
And yet, one ESPN analyst believes the division is going to be won by the Seattle Seahawks.
On The Rich Eisen Show, Louis Riddick made his case for Seattle over, as he jokingly said, the San Francisco Kyle Shanahans, and you can watch the video below.
“I love Kyle Shanahan as much as anybody, but [...] we don’t know who the quarterback’s going to be for them,” Riddick said. “And we don’t know how it’s going to work out. People still believe no matter what Geno Smith did last year, it’s like ‘well it’s Geno Smith. A broken clock can be right twice a day. He just got lucky last year, it just worked out for him.’ They don’t believe!
“Right now if you look at the best GMs in the league as far as what they’ve done over the past 2-3 years in restocking their rosters, you’d have to go with Brett Veach of Kansas City, Howie Roseman of Philadelphia, and John Schneider is right there with what he’s done to this roster and how they’ve revamped it.
“People thought Pete Carroll was on his way out. Pete forgot about football. Pete rode the backs of Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas and Marshawn [Lynch], it was just all those guys. People thought that Pete couldn’t coach. There’s no way he can catch up to modern day football.”
Those last two paragraphs could’ve been direct shots at some of our own articles and Field Gulls commenters!
Riddick went on to praise offensive tackles Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas, the speed and versatility of DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the “absolute stable of running backs” with Kenneth Walker and Zach Charbonnet, Riq Woolen and Devon Witherspoon in the secondary, the return of Bobby Wagner, and he didn’t even mention the return of Jamal Adams.
I’d consider Riddick to be a lot more positive with his team assessments than other prominent analysts, but it’s still worth noting that he was also one of the few who didn’t forecast the Seahawks to be a complete disaster in 2022. He remembers all of the hate he got for that proclamation.
“That division is wide open,” Riddick said. “It’s right there for them to take this year, and then go on and really get on a run. The team was a year ahead last year, and I thought last year they were a playoff-caliber wild card type of team when I saw them in the preseason and went out there for training camp. And people said ‘you need to find a new job, because analyzing football isn’t the job for you. There’s no way Seattle’s gonna be that good, they’ll be a top-5 drafting team.’”
“Seattle is for real. I’m gonna jump right back on—-I never got off [the train]. I’m still on that train, and I think they win the West. I think they take it from San Francisco,” Riddick concluded.
Here’s to another year of Riddick being right about Seattle!