Today our two-a-days coverage takes us out to the NFC West. Last year the 49ers handled the division and made a deep run into the playoffs. Are they poised to do the same or will another dark horse emerge? Today we’ll look at the 49ers and the Cardinals and on Monday we’ll finish the division with the Rams and Seahawks.
Today’s 49ers post is written by our good friends over at theFrontOfficeNews. Make sure you check out their site and bookmark it. The guys over there run a great sports blog.
Up next the 49ers and Cardinals, lets go.
2011 – 13-3
Additions - WR Randy Moss, RB Rock Cartwright, RBBrandon Jacobs, QB Josh Johnson, WR Mario Manningham, CB/S Darcel McBath,CB Perrish Cox, G Leonard Davis
Losses - LB Blake Costanzo, WR Josh Morgan, FBMoran Norris, OG Chilo Rachal, S Reggie Smith, C Adam Snyder, CB SwawntaeSpencer, S Madieu Williams, WR Braylon Edwards, TE Justin Peelle
Prospective – The 9ers hit the NFL by storm, even as fan I didn’t see them going 13-3 and being a few plays away from making the Super Bowl before the season started. This year Alex Smith must build on what he started last year at Quarterback, where he threw for 17 tds and only had 5 ints. We know the 9ers were in the Peyton sweepstakes but he has to get over that because about 8 teams didn’t consider trying to add Peyton. Back to Alex he has a ton of weapons at his disposal this year so excuses of big plays will not be heard by anyone.
The 9ers lost receivers Braylon Edwards and Josh Morgan and replaced them with Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. Even though I’m a big Morgan fan I think Moss and Manningham are a big upgrade over the previous two. Moss is coming off of retirement but just his presence on the field should effect the safety. A.J. Jenkins was drafted inthe 1st round to help the corps and they still have Crabtree who just like Alex should benefit with all of this extra talent around him. Tight End Vernon Davis will be expected to dominate like he did during the playoffs.
Frank Gore will still be the top dog in the backfield but this year and he will have a few capable assistants to help carry the load. Gore ran for over 1k last year but Kendall Hunter, Brandon Jacobs and rookie LaMichael James may help in all fascists of the game. The offensive line is pretty much intact from last year just losing one starting guard(signed G Leonard Davis), this group will have all camp to accommodate the new piece to this young and experience o-line. To summarize it all up the offense should be much better considering the the quality pieces they have added.
The 9ers calling card was and is on defense, before the offense got into a lil’ groove the defense won a lot of games for this team. The most amazing thing happened this off season for this group is that all 11 starters will be back, which after a season this team has last year is unheard of. The d-line is starred by multiple time pro bowl DE Justin Smith. McDonald and Sopoaga man the other two positions on the line. These three help keep the super tandem of Willis and Bowman clean at linebacker. These two are damn near fighting for every tackle on the field when the ball is snapped. Both will have a good shot at making the pro bowl which Willis has been a permanent fixture since he entered the league.
The linebacking core still has the having pass rushing services of Aldon Smith and continue to cause havoc to anybody in their way. In the secondary the 9ers are real solid all across the board. Brown and Rogers are still the starters rightfully so but with Culliver back, Brock returning also and the signing of Perrish Cox this group is stronger across the board as a whole than last year. Whitner and Goldson are two ball hawking safeties that are not scared to lay the wood on anybody to roams to their area.This defense will be a top 5 in the league no matter how you cut it.
With the 49ers in probably the weakest division in the NFL. As long as Alex can play solid, I repeat solid not great the 49ers should win the division. They also will have a real shot at winning the Super Bowl if they can build on last year’s success. I predict the 9ers finishing 1st in their division at 11-5. I think this year they won’t take teams by surprise but with that defense what can the other teams really do to stop them?
Who will it be, Kolb or Skelton?
Additions - G Adam Snyder, DE/OLB Quentin Groves, CB William Gay, S James Sanders.
Losses - OT Brandon Keith, G Rex Hadnot, CB Richard Marshall.
Prospective – The Cardinals weren’t as bad as they were made out to be last year finishing 8-8. It’s just that expectation were riding high for this team and the 49ers quickly stole all the thunder in the division. The main issue with the Cardinals is what they are going to do at QB. They gave the money to Kolb but under Skelton the team has been better and all-world reciever Larry Fitzgerald has better numbers with Skelton. Kolb is going to get the first chance to win that job but Skelton will be breathing down his back. Whoever the signal caller is he will have one job and that is get Fitzgerald the damn ball.
Cardinals went on the offensive in the draft and drafted WR Michael Floyd (Notre Dame) to pair with Fitzgerald. This puts Floyd in a wide open offense and a chance to learn from one of the greats. Last year the Cardinals were 19th in total offense and 17th in passing. These numbers need to be high if they want to contend for a division title.
Beanie Wells will again be the feature back and he’s coming off a 1000 yard, 10 touchdown season. Todd Heap was a collossal failure last year but between him and Jeff King the TE should be “ok”. Offensively they will go as Skelton or Kolb go.
Defensively this team ranked 17 th and that is what you can expect from a team that went 8-8. The Cardinals have some bright spots at the linebacker position and Darnell Dockett still wreaks havoc on the inside. At the corner position Patrick Peterson made some big plays on special teams but got torched in the secondary. He has to play better. Safety Adrian Wilson was finally back healthy and had another solid campaign. This is a under achieving defense but if the offense can take some of the pressure off these guys the Cardinals may surprise a few people.
Projection – The Cardinals need to pick a #1 before week 1 and hit the ground running. Unfortanetly because of $$$ I think that Kolb will be the guy but Skelton gives them a better chance to win. They will start slow and finish strong just like they did last year but I got them going 7-9. The bridesmaids once again.
Tweet This Post