Irvin, Kaepernick, Washington and openers
May, 20, 2013
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
A quick look at how recent developments affect 2013 regular-season openers, which are now just 111 days away:
- Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers. Bruce Irvin's suspension from the Seahawks to open the season removes from this game a player whose contributions proved pivotal to Seattle's victory at Carolina last season. Irvin's fourth-quarter sack and forced fumble allowed the Seahawks to run out the clock. He finished the game with two sacks as the Seahawks shut down Cam Newton.
- Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers. Colin Kaepernick's 181-yard rushing performance for the 49ers against Green Bay in the playoffs last season sent the Packers scrambling for ways to defend rushing attempts from quarterbacks. The team even showed interest in hiring Kaepernick's former college coach, Chris Ault. However, Ault wound up taking a job with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Kaepernick-Packers storyline will command tons of attention when the opener is near. Imagine if Ault had taken a job with the 49ers' Week 1 opponent.
- Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams. Daryl Washington had one sack in each of the Cardinals' two games against the Rams last season. A suspension will prevent him from factoring this time. Side note: In years past, Arizona could almost always count on borderline-dominant performances from Adrian Wilson against the Rams. To hear Wilson tell it, the Rams angered him during the 2001 draft when they repeatedly called him to say they planned to select him, only to select three other defensive players instead. Wilson will miss this game after signing with New England following his release from the Cardinals. The Rams will not miss him.