Our Offseason Preview For The Other 3 NFC West Teams

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brock purdy

One thing you know about the NFL these days, you aren’t getting anywhere if you can’t beat the teams in your division.

The Los Angeles Rams struggled against their NFC West rivals in 2022, going 1-5, getting swept by the Niners and Seahawks and splitting with the Cardinals.

Woof.

Smart teams are built to win their division, because you know you’re going up against those teams twice each year, so if one team has, let’s say, a dominant defensive line, then over time another team may counter by building up its offensive line.

The Rams have some holes to fill in after an injury-ravaged 2022 season when they went 5-12, but things are beginning to coalesce for the upcoming season. First is putting together the coaching staff, then it’s all about the NFL Draft, then free agency, then training camp….the season will be here before you know it.

Here’s what’s been going on with the Rams NFC rivals. Yes, these are the teams we hate.

San Francisco 49ers

2022 Record: 13-4

When We Last Saw Them: They were in the NFC Championship game for the second year in a row and saw both quarterbacks they brought to the game got hurt. The game turned into a romp for the Eagles and the Niners flew back home to San Francisco. As a Rams fan, it’s Ok to revel in their misery.

What’s New In San Francisco? The Niners lost mean-looking defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans to the Houston Texans as head coach, so they hired former Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks to be the new defensive coordinator. The big news early this week was Brock Purdy was postponing his elbow surgery because of inflammation, so his status for training camp is already a concern.

Draft Day Primer: The Niners have no draft picks, like none. They gave away the farm for running back Christian McCaffrey, so they don’t pick until the third round. The Niners have three third round picks, third in the fifth round and three in the seventh. But they don’t need that much. This is a team with a talented young defense, but with one really big issue….Quarterback.

Biggest Question: Who will the Niners go with as their quarterback? Trey Lance was the starter at the beginning of 2022. He got hurt. In comes Jimmy Garoppolo. He does well, but everyone knows he’s just good enough to get you to the party, but he can’t bring home the girl. Purdy was a revelation in the playoffs, but was he a flash in the pan?

Seattle Seahawks

2022 Record: 9-8

When We Last Saw Them: They got some questionable penalty calls against the Rams (still angry) and beat them 19-16 in overtime in the regular season finale. They sneaked into the playoffs as the seventh seed, hung with San Francisco for a half before losing 41-23. Running back Kenneth Walker II was second in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting.

What’s New In Seattle? Well, Seattle wide receiver/athletic freak DK Metcalf was the MVP at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. QB Coach Dave Canales left Seattle to go be the offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay, so the Seahawks took Rams assistant coach Greg Olson (not the Fox analyst) to come be QB coach. He will work with Shane Waldron, who is the Seahawks OC. Waldron coached with the Rams for four years.

Draft Day Primer: Whoa, the Seahawks are loaded up with draft picks thanks to the Russell Wilson trade. They will pick No. 5 overall, and No. 20, plus they got the Broncos second-round pick too (38 overall). The Seahawks couldn’t stop anyone in 2022, so they have a great chance to load up on defense, if they choose.

Biggest Question: Quarterback Geno Smith is an unrestricted free agent after a good year in Seattle. The Seahawks must make a decision on what to do with him. Do they go after a young QB in the draft (CJ Stroud?) or throw some serious money at Geno and bring him back?

Arizona Cardinals

2022 Record: 4-13

When We Last Saw Them: They lost their final seven games of the regular season. Sadly, their last win was over the Rams. Geez, it was that type of season in LA.

What’s New In Arizona? Everything. The Cardinals went full-scale blow-everything-up and start over. They brought in former New England Patriots scout Monti Ossenfort as General Manager. He hired Jonathan Gannon as new head coach. Gannon had been the DC for the Eagles the last two years. Gannon brought in Drew Petzing as offensive coordinator. He’s been with the Browns the last few years. The Cardinals also hired 29-year-old Nick Rallis as defensive coordinator. Rallis is now the youngest coordinator in the NFL. I have shirts older than Rallis, but he worked with Gannon in Philadelphia as linebackers coach.

Draft Day Primer: You go 4-13 and you get high draft picks. The Cardinals pick No. 3 overall, plus 35th and 67th. They can do anything. They need players. JJ Watt retired after leading the Cardinals with 12.5 sacks, so they need a pass rush. Somehow the Cardinals didn’t have a 1,000-yard rusher or a 1,000-yard wide receiver last season, but star DeAndre Hopkins missed a bunch of games with a PED suspension and then an injury.

Biggest Question: When will Kyler Murray come back? Murray had a nasty-looking knee injury in Week 14 against the Patriots where he tore his ACL and meniscus. It was the worst possible time. Returning from that injury can take 6-8 months, which means Murray might miss the early part of the regular season. Do the Cardinals want to wait for Murray, or let him go in a trade and really start all over under Gannon?