Suggestions for NFC West teams in Week 3

September, 27, 2009
9/27/09
10:00
AM ET
Nick Laham/Getty Images
The Rams are averaging 13 fewer offensive snaps per game this season, making it tougher for Steven Jackson to get touches.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


Jon writes via Facebook: Sando ... pretend you're the coach. What moves/changes do YOU make for each NFC West team this week in order to better give yourself a chance of winning? No trading for Peyton Manning or drugging the other teams' Gatorade, though. I would love to hear your insight. Even if it is just what packages you'd roll out more or less often based on your statistical analysis stuff you do.

Mike Sando: Fun idea. I'm sure NFC West coaches will pay close, close attention. OK, I'll give you one thing I'd be curious to see from each team.
  • Arizona: Start Beanie Wells at halfback and run him from three-receiver personnel with one tight end. Throw the ball to set up the pass. Trust Wells with the football and see what happens. See if you can dictate better matchups for the receivers down the field. Watch University of Phoenix Stadium rock if Wells breaks a long one. On defense, get creative with Adrian Wilson and see if he can get a free shot on Peyton Manning. Few quarterbacks in NFL history have been as durable. Few defensive backs can put the hurt on a quarterback the way Wilson can. It's worth a shot.
  • San Francisco: Put Vernon Davis on Jared Allen's side and pound the football. Occasionally run the ball from three-receiver personnel on early downs. The Lions had some success doing this against the Vikings in Week 2. San Francisco has done this exactly twice in two games, and one of those runs was to end the half against Seattle. On defense, make sure Parys Haralson gets plenty of work against Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt, a big guy vulnerable to speed rushers.
  • Seattle: Forget some of the stuff with two tight ends. Work Deion Branch into the offense instead of John Owens and keep him on the field if his conditioning is good and he's catching the ball consisently. Spread out the Bears a little and use Seneca Wallace's speed to put stress on the defense. Move the pocket. Differentiate this offensive staff from Seattle's previous one by unleashing a game plan tailored to what Wallace does best. On defense, play it safe and see if Jay Cutler makes mistakes. Do not take huge risks because Cutler has the ability to make big plays with his arm.
  • St. Louis: Make sure Steven Jackson touches the ball more. The Rams have tried to get creative by lining up Jackson as a wide receiver and throwing to him quickly. The results have been underwhelming. Perhaps the offense isn't far enough along for that. I wouldn't abandon that tactic entirely, but it's time to make sure Jackson gets more carries. Give the ball to him enough and he'll break long runs. On defense, make sure James Hall gets several cracks at the Packers' backup left tackle. Hall is not a great pass rusher at this stage, but he's one of the Rams' better ones.

I have not watched the Bears or Packers enough to have a great feel for them. I did watch some of the Vikings-Lions game Saturday night in the hotel.

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