Chat wrap: National perceptions of 49ers

September, 22, 2011
9/22/11
2:52
PM ET
RENTON, Wash. -- The short NFC West week coming out of the Monday night game leaves less time for the usual featured entries. I'm going to power through them in the remaining time. Should be fun.

The latest NFC West chat ended about 15 minutes before the Seattle Seahawks are opening their locker room for the daily media session. I'm heading to that session shortly. First, a few highlights from the chat, one per team:
Nick from Evanston asks how national perceptions of the San Francisco 49ers might have changed if the team had beaten the Dallas Cowboys. Nick thinks most would agree San Francisco should have won that game.

Mike Sando: Well, had the 49ers won, you can be sure the focus would have been on the Cowboys losing, not on the 49ers winning. Dallas commands another level of attention, right or wrong. Is that because more people are genuinely interested in the Cowboys? If not, is it because the media overplays stories related to the Cowboys? If so, to what extent does the added interest reflect additional coverage, or vice versa? The bottom line for the 49ers is that they need to have a winning season to change perceptions about them.

Haz from San Diego asks whether I envision any trades for the Seahawks in the immediate future.

Mike Sando: Yeah, the Seahawks have always been willing to wheel and deal under the new regime. Aaron Curry obviously does not fit into the team's long-term plans after Seattle cut off his contract, which now runs through only 2012. I could see the Seahawks trading him, particularly with K.J. Wright looking like he needs to play in some capacity. Update: Trading Curry's contract would be the problem. Tough to see another team wanting to pay what's remaining on that deal.

Jack from Arizona thinks Kevin Kolb looks like the "real deal" for the Arizona Cardinals and the best quarterback in the NFC West. He think Kolb will crack the NFL's top 10 by season's end, but he wants my thoughts as well.

Mike Sando: Kolb has been very impressive, right from the moment I saw him at training camp. He has that "it" factor and has backed it up with some big plays on the field. The top 10? I could see him being in that conversation. So far, so good. The QBR figure for him invites questions about some of the negative plays -- sacks, a lost fumble, an interception -- and how much they might be hurting the team. I've been impressed nonetheless.

Eric from Baltimore remains "cautiously optimistic" about the St. Louis Rams despite their 0-2 start. He thinks they've played tough opponents. He wants to know how much offensive improvement is realistic before the bye. And with Mark Clayton coming back eventually, he wonders how strong the receiving corps might become.

Mike Sando: I can see the reason for cautious optimism on the Rams. They'll probably be my pick to win at home against Baltimore, although they've got some horsepower issues, no question. The run defense and red-zone offense have been huge disappointments, as have the injuries. The offense needs Steven Jackson back from injury. That was clear to me Monday night. If he returns strong, the Rams will make a jump offensively. Remember, they haven't really had him this season, but when they did, he was looking very good. I saw good things from Danario Alexander and Mike Sims-Walker against the Giants. As a group, though, I don't trust their health.

OK, that locker room session is about to begin. Back in a bit.

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