Friday, May 4, 2012
Where NFC West teams are most improved
By Mike Sando
Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. singled out the San Francisco 49ers' passing game as one of the NFC's three most improved units this offseason.
Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James are among the newcomers he expects to upgrade that area.
A look at the areas where the 49ers' competitors have the greatest potential for improvement, in my estimation:
- Arizona Cardinals: wide receiver. Michael Floyd's addition as a potential strong No. 2 wideout could upgrade two receiving spots by casting Andre Roberts into more of a slot role, which could suit him better. Floyd projects as the flanker, with Larry Fitzgerald remaining at split end most of the time. We should also mention the Cardinals' offensive line, simply because the team now has a few young players to develop. I'm just not sure how much Adam Snyder and rookie Bobby Massie will upgrade the right side initially.
- Seattle Seahawks: quarterback. Adding Matt Flynn in free agency and Russell Wilson through the draft dramatically changes the outlook for the position in Seattle. We cannot know what Flynn or Wilson will become, and that is the point. The team will not go through another season with Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst as the only viable options. That is progress. The Seahawks' pass rush deserves mention, too. Adding Bruce Irvin and Jason Jones changes the dynamic. A healthy Dexter Davis could be a factor, too.
- St. Louis Rams: defensive line. The Rams also addressed their secondary, which was going to improve simply through better health. But with defensive tackles Kendall Langford and Michael Brockers joining the rotation, St. Louis now has four young starters on its line. Chris Long and 2011 first-round choice Robert Quinn are the others. The team still needs help at linebacker, but the brightened outlook at defensive tackle provides the foundation for improved run defense. That's important in a division featuring Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore, Beanie Wells and others.
That's how I see it, anyway. Now it's your turn.