Monday, August 27, 2012
Around the NFC West: One QB job open
By Mike Sando
Russell Wilson's ascension into the Seattle Seahawks' lineup leaves one NFL team without a starting quarterback for 2012.
Your Arizona Cardinals are that team.
John Skelton or Kevin Kolb? Coach Ken Whisenhunt figures to name his Week 1 starter before too much longer.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals will have to scale back their offense no matter which quarterback winds up taking the first-team snaps. His formula consists of running the ball, passing judiciously and playing tough on defense and special teams. Somers: "Now, this formula isn't going to produce exciting football. It's going to make for low-scoring, close games and a lot of disappointed fantasy-league owners who selected Cardinals offensive players. ... This formula isn't revolutionary. But it's the Cardinals' only way to climb out of this dark abyss and reach offensive solvency." Noted: Wait, which team is going into the season with a rookie starter?
Also from Somers: a look at the Cardinals' work week, which includes a date with Peyton Manning.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Wilson will be the third consecutive rookie quarterback to face the Cardinals in a regular-season opener. Urban: "In 2010, the Cards opened in St. Louis, when Sam Bradford had some trouble with Adrian Wilson in his first NFL game. In 2011, Cam Newton ended up setting an NFL rookie record for passing yards in his first game. In the Cards’ favor, they ended up winning both games."
Josh Weinfuss of azcardinals.com: Cardinals offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger is a funny guy.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times lists the rookie quarterbacks to start for Seattle. That list includes Rick Mirer, Dan McGwire, Kelly Stouffer and Jim Zorn. O'Neil: "Stouffer was drafted in 1987 by the Cardinals, but never signed with them. His first NFL season was 1988."
Peter King of Sports Illustrated calls Wilson's promotion "inevitable" while offering this commentary: "The naysayers said to just wait until Wilson had to play against someone's starting defense; that would expose him. Uh, not so much. Wilson started and had seven possessions in Kansas City Friday night. The drives: 41 yards and a field goal, 41 yards and a field goal, 37 yards and a field goal, 62 yards and a touchdown, 59 yards and a touchdown, 55 yards and a touchdown, 54 yards and a missed field goal. By the time Seattle inserted Tarvaris Jackson to replace Wilson, the Seahawks led 44-7."
Eric Karabell of ESPN.com analyzes Wilson's fantasy football value. Karabell: "It's not ticketing Wilson for the Hall of Fame to call him a reasonable backup quarterback for your fantasy team, a sheer upside play, assuming your starter is a rock-solid option like Tom Brady or Drew Brees. If it's Ben Roethlisberger, I would secure a safer, more reliable backup."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the details on an amazing offseason for Rams center Scott Wells. Wells and his wife adopted three children from Uganda, one reason Wells wasn't a full participant at training camp this offseason. Thomas: "A confidentiality agreement with the orphanage in Uganda prevented Wells from speaking publicly on the topic during the lengthy adoption process. And it was only after his wife returned home from Uganda a week ago with new daughter Caroline (age 5) and new sons R.J. (2) and Elijah (3) that Wells felt comfortable talking about the exhausting yet exhilarating experience."
Also from Thomas: an updated look at the Rams' offensive line.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com offers another look at Wells' offseason journey. The family initially did not intend to adopt three children. Wells: "They said, 'By the way, the 2-year-old, we found his sister. And kind of put it to us as what do you want to do? She's 5. So we felt that -- again, this was all God's plan -- that had we been paired with the boy and the girl initially, we would've said no because she's 5. We wanted under 3. And we just decided to keep the brother and sister together; keep the boy."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says 355-pound guard Leonard Davis enjoyed playing six consecutive snaps at tight end for the 49ers in their preseason game at Denver. Davis: "I've never been part of a game plan like that. It's fun. I'm just trying to get on the field. Not only that but be able to go out and play and execute like you're supposed to."
Also from Maiocco: Mike Martz's thoughts on Alex Smith. Martz: "There've been so many moving parts around Alex during his career that when things got stabilized, he was allowed to develop. When I say moving parts, just the changing of the coordinators, receiver groups, offensive line changes. They've stabilized all that now. ... "Alex, when I had him, he was just not right. ... I didn't say anything to him. And eventually he realized it, and that's when he had his (shoulder) surgery."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee runs through the 49ers' performance at Denver, noting that the defense hasn't performed very well to this point. Also: "Colin Kaepernick had a strong game in going 4-4 for 80 yards and rushing twice for 11 yards. Kaepernick, who played the third quarter, connected with Kyle Williams for a 46-yard catch-and-run play, the 49ers' longest pass play of the preseason and a pass described by Harbaugh as 'a laser.' Kaepernick also had an impressive throw to tight end Konrad Reuland as he was rolling away from pressure to his left."
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says Smith and Manning wound up with the right teams. Kawakami: "Really, most of the time I watched the two QBs on TV today, I was thinking about what it would’ve been like if Peyton was Jim Harbaugh’s QB now. Easy conclusion: It would’ve been entertaining and possibly tremendous, but also probably too much of the Manic QB Ego thing all at once, with too much on the line for both men to ever back off. It could’ve been too much testosterone—not in the Melky Cabrera way, but you know what I’m saying."
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers went deep for the sake of it Sunday.