Friday, September 24, 2010
Around the NFC West: Cards 'in the tank'
By Mike Sando
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Adrian Wilson considers the Arizona defense to be "in the tank" following it's soft showing against the Falcons. I don't use the word "soft" lightly here, either, but I cannot recall an Arizona defense getting pushed around to this degree. At one point, Falcons receiver Brian Finneran decked Wilson with a left to the head. Wilson had appeared to take a swing at Finneran. Finneran fired back quickly and Wilson went to the turf. Shouldn't it be the other way around out there? Also, Falcons tackle Tyson Clabo moved Darnell Dockett off the line repeatedly. I also thought the Falcons' line shoved around the Cardinals' nose tackles, Bryan Robinson and Dan Williams. It was just an ugly day all the way around for Arizona. Wilson: "I don't really have anything nice to say. We got whupped. We didn't even put up a fight, so it's hard for me to even say anything right now. Anything I say is going to be negative, so I don't want to go that way."
Also from Somers: an expanded look at the defensive problems.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Ken Whisenhunt wasn't very specific in terms of what to expect from Beanie Wells in Week 3. Wells said Wednesday that he will "definitely" play against Oakland.
Also from Urban: Larry Fitzgerald prepares to face Nnamdi Asomugha by going against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in practice.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Philip Rivers is used to hearing play calls in his headset from Charlie Whitehurst. The two will be on opposite sides Sunday.
Also from Farnsworth: Deon Butler has six receptions in two games after catching 15 passes all last season.
Brian McIntyre of scout.com breaks down playing time for the Seahawks against Denver in Week 2. Middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu played every snap.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times passes along a transcript from offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates' weekly in-season interview session. The Chargers' defense is similar in approach to the one Seattle faced in Week 1. Bates: "You know, San Francisco came from the San Diego family so definitely, each 3-4 is different. San Francisco and San Diego are a lot alike, and there's the New England (style), kind of a mind of their own. You've got the Jets and you've got Baltimore, and they're unique. Then you've got Pittsburgh. A lot of people outside of football say, 'Hey, you're playing a 3-4 team,' but everyone has their own identity, their own style. And it's a challenge that each week you play a 3-4 team, you've just got to crack the code."
Also from O'Neil: Colin Cole is playing well for Seattle.
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com looks at the Seahawks' shifting offensive identity. The team used three wide receivers extensively in Week 2, partly because Seattle fell behind.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says new Seahawks president Peter McLoughlin should follow Tod Leiweke's lead. Leiweke has basically hired himself to take over some of the duties he has handled for years.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams defensive coordinator Ken Flajole wants more pressure from his front four. That's easier to generate at home. Thomas: "This Sunday's opponent, Washington, presents a pass-rushing challenge because not only is quarterback Donovan McNabb still mobile at age 33, but head coach Mike Shanahan likes to have his QBs throw on the move with bootlegs and rollouts." The schedule sets up favorably for the Rams from a preparation standpoint. They face Shanahan in Week 3 and Shanahan's former understudy, Jeremy Bates, in Week 4.
Also from Thomas: Steven Jackson offers thoughts on exploiting mismatches. Jackson: "If we want to spread a team out and run in a nickel package where it's three receivers, and they want to keep their big guys in, I think we should take advantage of the mismatch. So if you have a linebacker guarding Danny (Amendola), you should take advantage of that mismatch. If we're going to spread them out and (they) go small, then you do vice versa and run the ball. So we've just got to figure out what the defense's trying to do, what's their game plan. And once we figure that out, I think that's what we should do, take advantage of that."
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says it's looking as though Brandon Gibson will be active for the Rams in Week 3 while Laurent Robinson deals with a foot injury. I'm interested in seeing Gibson get some snaps. His absence from the 45-man roster would have been unexpected based on what Gibson showed in 2009.
Also from Wagoner: more on Gibson and Mardy Gilyard.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com offers this in a chat transcript: "(Ted Ginn Jr.) did not practice Wednesday, and it's questionable whether he'll be available to play Sunday against the Chiefs. Kyle Williams did practice, so he will definitely be available. I think Ginn will be held out another week." Getting Williams back to return punts sounds great in theory, but the 49ers should be a little nervous about sending a rookie into his first regular-season game at Arrowhead Stadium. Rookies Walter Thurmond (Seattle) and Phillip Adams (San Francisco) muffed punts last week. Another rookie, Golden Tate, fared better.
Also from Maiocco: He disagrees with the thought that the 49ers ran their two-minute offense without using enough clock time Monday night. I'm with him on this one. The 49ers needed a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie. Leaving time on the clock for a potential onside kick would have made little sense, because the Saints could have recovered with good field position, setting up a field goal. Leaving time on the clock would have made more sense if the 49ers had trailed by a margin other than eight.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye is looking forward to a Kansas City return. Raye is not the only one. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky played for the Chiefs. Offensive line coach Mike Solari coached for Kansas City.
Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers rookie Nate Byham is earning more playing time.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News is having a hard time finding Michael Crabtree in the 49ers' offense. I thought Crabtree would catch four or five passes per game. He still might. It's early.
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says Alex Smith began to change perceptions about himself with that two-minute drive against New Orleans.