Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Around the NFC West: Puzzling recoveries
By Mike Sando
Two NFC West players have shaken off serious injuries that threatened their availability this season.
Arizona's Adrian Wilson suffered a torn biceps tendon near his elbow about a month before the regular season. He has started every game. Wilson no longer wears a protective wrap on his arm. He has played at a high level and seems to be getting better -- counter to any thoughts suggesting the biceps might not hold up over the course of a full season.
Seattle's Tarvaris Jackson is pulling off a similar feat. The torn right pectoral muscle he suffered Oct. 9 sidelined him for a week and seemed to diminish his play at times, but Jackson was at his best against Philadelphia last week despite having only four days between games. Like Wilson, Jackson seems to be getting better.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says even Jackson wasn't expecting this sort of recovery under the circumstances. Jackson: "It kind of surprised me. Earlier in the week I thought it was just [adrenaline] still in my system on Monday, but Tuesday came and it still felt good. On Wednesday it still felt pretty good. The coaches were a little surprised that I was throwing during the week, but it’s a feel -- if it feels good, I'm going to go out there and practice. They were surprised that it came this week on a short week, but it came and we were able to get out there and practice and get all of the looks in. That was good for us."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com looks at how the team is shuffling personnel on its offensive line and linebacker.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks' depth continues to be tested.
Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle breaks down Marshawn Lynch's 40-yard touchdown run against the Eagles.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Beanie Wells' tough running is counter to his reputation. Somers: "With 916 yards, Wells is on pace to rush for more than 1,200 yards, something only one other back (Edgerrin James, 2007) has accomplished during the team's history in Arizona. If maturing for an NFL running back means developing a willingness to play hurt, then Wells has matured, putting the team before himself. That's not always the case for professional athletes, and it's hard to blame them. Cardinals receiver Steve Breaston returned early from knee surgery last season and was praised for his toughness. But when the season was over, the Cardinals never made a serious bid to re-sign him, believing Breaston's knee was too big of a risk. He left for Kansas City." Noted: Wells has displayed two types of toughness. Being a physical runner is one part of the equation. Playing through injury is the other.
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic checks in with Darnell Dockett, who says he's "closer to God" and in a different place spiritually. Dockett, whose mother was murdered years ago, says he would forgive the killer if the two ever met. Dockett: "I'm closer to God now in my life, and I just feel that for me to ask God to forgive me for all the things I've done in my life, I feel like I should be able to forgive somebody for whatever they've done. At the end of the day, I'm not going to dictate whether you go to heaven or hell. That's a question that you've got to answer. I believe in God, and you can't walk around here praying and ask to be blessed and to be protected when you're walking around with evil toward someone else."
Roger Hensley of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asks colleagues whether they think the Rams will win another game this season. Bryan Burwell: "With the Rams down to a third-string QB and an offensive line full of strangers, it’s difficult to imagine where the points will come from, which means I really don’t know where the victories will come from. We don’t know a lot about Tom Brandstater other than he’s a big guy (6-5) who has yet to throw an NFL pass. The Rams offense right now is nonexistent. It can’t score. If you can’t move the ball or score touchdowns, a 9-0 lead is insurmountable. 2-14 seems like a lock."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the Rams' quarterback situation after the team signed Matt Gutierriez to its practice squad. Noted: Gutierrez has played in New England and Kansas City, so he has experience in the offensive system the Rams are running.
Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers' stadium plan relies upon "record" loans. Rosenberg: "Critics and some analysts fear the stadium next to the Great America theme park won't whip up enough profit to pay off $850 million that the city's stadium authority will borrow to propel the plan into reality. If the economic assumptions fall short, the 49ers' new home could wind up bleeding red ink for decades, with interest payments pushing the project's total debt well beyond $1 billion. That's about triple the debt that voters were told the city's stadium authority would take on when they approved the project 18 months ago. ... But the deal, announced Friday, includes a fail-safe that experts say might be the first of its kind among NFL stadiums. Although the city's stadium authority is ultimately responsible for paying off the loans, the 49ers have vowed to make sure the debt is paid in case the stadium struggles."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com offers his player-by-player offensive review from the 49ers' game against the Rams. Noted: Left tackle Joe Staley gets high marks for his performance against James Hall. In the past, Staley has called Hall one of the more difficult defensive ends he faces, partly because Hall is a good power player.
Also from Maiocco: a defensive review. On Aldon Smith: "Played fewer than 20 snaps as part of the 49ers' nickel defense, but he made a huge impact on the game with two sacks and a fumble recovery.. ... On a third-and-13 in the first quarter, he dropped into coverage, avoided block attempt of left guard Jacob Bell and dropped receiver Nick Miller for an 8-yard loss to force a punt. ... Recovered fumble at the Rams 6-yard line in the second quarter. . . . Bull-rushed left tackle Adam Goldberg to drop A.J. Feeley for a 7-yard loss on a third-quarter sack. ... Beat backup right tackle Thomas Welch for sack on a fourth-and-12 in the fourth quarter."