Friday, December 2, 2011
Around the NFC West: Okung's injury
By Mike Sando
The whistle had just blown when the Philadelphia Eagles' Trent Cole, apparently frustrated by Russell Okung's aggressive tactics, flipped the Seattle Seahawks' left tackle onto the ground in one violent motion.
There's a chance Okung suffered a serious pectoral injury during what otherwise would have been a forgotten play during the final minutes of Seattle's 31-14 victory Thursday night.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Okung "felt something pop" and could be lost for an extended period. O'Neil: "There is no final diagnosis on the severity of the pectoral injury, but it can be an injury that requires season-ending surgery. After the game in the locker room, Okung was holding his arm completely stationary, and had to have his uniform cut off of him." Noted: It'll be interesting to see whether the NFL fines Cole for what appeared to be unnecessary roughness.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says Marshawn Lynch is running toward a significant payday in the offseason. Brewer: "Yes, running backs are plentiful, and most have short careers. Yes, it's unwise to invest too much in a player whose value decreases with every hit. Yes, the Seahawks learned this harsh lesson with Shaun Alexander, who signed a mega contract after his 2005 MVP season and wound up being released two years later. But Lynch is a different breed. He's way south of age 30. He doesn't have major injury concerns. Most important, he has chemistry with a young, rapidly improving offensive line, and unless his contract demands are outrageous, there's no reason to break up a good thing, especially since the Seahawks know how long it can take to fix a run game." Noted: The price for naming Lynch their franchise player could approach $10 million for one season.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune finds value in Lynch's contributions beyond the rushing yards and touchdowns. Boling: "Sometimes you have to watch closely. Late in the first half, for instance, Golden Tate pulled in a pass and was detained but not tackled by several Eagles. More defenders were closing in on him when a flash of blue sprinted into the pile to knock them off Tate. It was Lynch. He was nowhere near the play, but flew downfield to strike a blow for a teammate. Every player on the team will see that in the video study, and Lynch’s example makes lesser effort by anybody seem unacceptable."
Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune checks in with Golden Tate, who has a touchdown reception in each of the Seahawks' past two games. More on this from Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Cardinals rookie Patrick Peterson might have scored an offensive touchdown against the Rams had he not muffed a snap from the Wildcat formation. Peterson: "If I had held on to that ball, I believe I was going the distance. I didn’t have to look at the paper (on the sideline). They tried to show (the photo) to me, and I was like, 'Trust me, I know. I know what could have happened.' "
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals are thoroughly impressed with rookie Sam Acho's savvy, not just his playmaking ability. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton: "He's got the ability to make plays because he understands. He's got that 'it' factor. We were keeping our fingers crossed about how long it would take this kid to develop. No surprise, we're just really happy he's on schedule."
Also from Somers: Larry Fitzgerald knew Beanie Wells had 214 yards at one point during the game against the Rams. Fitzgerald also knew the team record was 214 yards. In fact, Fitzgerald told coach Ken Whisenhunt that Wells needed another carry to break the record. Somers: "When Fitzgerald was named the NFC's offensive player of the week last month, he obviously knew it was the first time he won the award. But he also guessed correctly that Roy Green was the last Cardinals receiver to win it. Receivers don't win that award much, Fitzgerald said, because if they had a big day, it's likely that the quarterback did, too. So the quarterback usually wins it."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams quarterback Sam Bradford suffered a setback regarding his ankle injury, leading the team to withhold him from practice Thursday. Thomas: "Walking with a slight limp, Bradford watched part of practice but also spent time on the stationary bike and getting treatment. Outwardly, the absence of Bradford working with the first unit on the practice field created barely a ripple. ... Backup quarterback A.J. Feeley, who started in place of Bradford against the Cowboys and Saints, knows the drill by now. But with Tom Brandstater no longer on the active roster or practice squad, it meant for a busy day of practice. Feeley took all the reps with the regular offense, as well as all the reps with the scout team running San Francisco plays against the Rams' starting defense."
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers have not allowed a rushing touchdown since their most recent game against the Rams. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio: "Some luck is involved, but it's good play ... The part that's overlooked is how our defensive backs have made some critical tackles (on runs) that would have been touchdowns."
Also from Inman: The 49ers promise not to raise ticket prices in 2012.
Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle looks at which current and former 49ers decision makers played leading roles in acquiring various players. Noted: The new coaching staff gets credit for maximizing those players to this point in the season. There's still lots of time remaining in the season to shape perceptions, however. The team could feel better or worse about its talent depending upon what happens between now and the end of the season.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers' passing game needs to improve for postseason.