Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

25 Jul 2012

FOA 2012 MEDIA: NFC West

I spent a while on the phone yesterday, talking about our NFC West projections with Mike Sando; here's his article.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 25 Jul 2012

6 comments, Last at 01 Aug 2012, 5:00pm by Dean


by Dean :: Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:14pm

I don't think there's much in here that's surprising to anyone who's paying attention to the NFC West. Of course, so few people are paying attention that nobody realizes that Big Media's narratives are off.

The Rams are bad, but the cover-your-eyes-awful players were injury fill-ins.
Kolb is probably bad, but not as bad as Skelton.
The 49ers are the class of the division, but they're not 13-3 good.
The Seahawks need a QB and brought it a couple "maybe's" and between the two, one should pan out.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 07/27/2012 - 1:44pm

For the Seahawks, what could really screw them is indecisiveness at QB. I don't mean to say i think they're going to wreck the confidence of their guys, but they might hastily pull a guy after two bad games because the fans are saying "but we got this other guy on the bench!?" struggle with a young or less talented player, go back to the original starter, etc. Meanwhile, they'll have squandered a couple games and caused chaos in the locker room. Bringing in two guys to be "the guy' and the announcing that the previous year's starter also has a shot just seems like a mindset that will lead to exactly the sort of scenario I'm talking about.

Also, Kolb is only good as the team and coaching around him, while Skelton is just plain bad. But that's another team that's another team that's going to sink itself vacillating between QB's.

I'm happy to have you around to post as a newly-minted Rams fan, but I'm surprised by your constant enthusiasm for them - well, to the extent that comments like "come on, they're not THAT bad" can be construed as enthusiasm. But I guess it helps remind me that last year in the preseason there was "break-out year!" talk around them and they really aren't totally talent-poor in a way that the Colts or Browns are...

by brugg (not verified) :: Tue, 07/31/2012 - 1:19am

I'm not sure your concern about Carroll bowing to fan pressure regarding the QB situation is likely. It seems his whole career wants he picks a QB he sticks with that QB for the season. As far as chaos in the locker room, I haven't seen evidence for that either.

by Dean :: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 8:52am

The Rams have a good coach in place and a couple cornerstones. There's plenty of work to do still, but in a division this weak, I can easily see them being in the mix. Granted, if SF pulls away like they did last year, the Rams have no shot of keeping pace with them, but if SF reverts back to normal, suddenly everything is wide open. I'm still picking the 49ers to win the division, but any one of the other 3 teams could go 7-9 and finish second without surprising me.

by chemical burn :: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 1:39pm

That's true - I can't see why they couldn't keep pace with the Cards and Seahawks if they stay healthy-ish. Count me in with those who think the 49er's are in for a big slip. I'm curious, how do you think their off-season went? My impression has been that they decided to tread water a bit with the idea to keep developing the young guys and hope for injured starters to come back and make an impact - is that fair?

by Dean :: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 5:00pm

I have decidedly mixed reviews about the offseason.

They drafted a shitload of backs and receivers, but those guys aren't likely to contribute much as rookies.

They signed Scott Wells. Eh. On the one hand, he's better than what they had. On the other hand, I have no idea how he made a pro bowl. He may have held a starting job in Green Bay for 5 years, but it seemed like the Pack were always trying to replace him. I've been meaning to go back into the archives and see what Ben thinks of him - his opinion surely carries more weight than mine. Fisher has a great track record of getting good OL play without paying a premium, so my opinions are largely based on him replicating that success in STL.

On D, they got bigger and meaner, which solves two problems. Kendall Langford may not be a star, but the guy can stuff the run. They got Trevor Laws to be the rotation DT - and you know all about him already. And they spent their 1st rounder on another mammoth DT whose name escapes me at the moment. The days of backup RBs gashing them for 200 yards should be over. There was a puff piece in the paper today that talked about how something like 20 guys out of the 90 man camp roster are over 6'5" and 3 bills. There's a link to it over at PFT if you want the exact numbers.

The secondary should be better purely by getting guys healthy. That and the big addition of Cortland Finnegan. I didn't think that Bartel and Fletcher made a bad tandem at all. Problem is they combined for 4 games.

On the other hand, they are almost Eaglesesque in their flotsam at LB. James Laurenitis is a legit stud but the rest, well, I'm sure their mothers are very proud of them. Add to that rookies at K and P and the inevitable growing pains there.

That sounds to me like a competitive team, but probably not a contending team - if that makes sense.