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Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Around the NFC West: Trade reconsidered

By Mike Sando

The St. Louis Rams traded the second pick in the 2012 NFL draft to Washington with the long-term future in mind.

They knew they wouldn't be drafting Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III because they'd already committed so much to Sam Bradford. They knew they needed many picks spread over multiple drafts, not just one high selection in 2012, to restock their roster under new coach Jeff Fisher and new general manager Les Snead.

Of course, long-term thinking gives way to short-term realities once a regular season begins. The short-term reality for St. Louis arrives Sunday when Griffin, superb in leading the Redskins past New Orleans in Week 1, visits the Edward Jones Dome in Week 2.

Roger Hensley of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asks colleagues whether the Rams should have kept the second overall pick and used it for Griffin. Bernie Miklasz: "I am a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee, and after one regular-season game, I am recommending that The Hall suspend its rules, so that we immediately induct RG III into Canton. My serious answer: Calm down. It's one game." Noted: There was no realistic or sensible way for the Rams to divest from Bradford in an effort to get Griffin. The team did what it needed to do under the circumstances.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' concern for Calvin Johnson opened up plays for other Lions, notably Nate Burleson, during critical moments of the team's defeat at Detroit in Week 1. Coach Jeff Fisher: "Guys were dropping a little bit (too deep), too concerned about the big play down the field to Calvin. As a result, we allowed some chunks. So, we got that corrected."

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Alex Smith last threw an interception on Thanksgiving. Smith: "Smith heads into Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions having thrown 185 consecutive passes without being intercepted. That breaks the 49ers record of 184 set by Hall of Famer Steve Young in 1993. (The NFL record is 358 by the New England Patriots' Tom Brady from 2010-11.) Joe Montana has the franchise's third-longest streak, with 154 passes in 1989. Now, the record belongs to the man who threw 11 interceptions (and one TD pass) as a rookie."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com offers his player-by-player review for the 49ers' defense from Week 1. On Aldon Smith: "He played 70 snaps on defense, mostly at defensive end as the 49ers rarely played their 3-4 defense against the Packers' passing game. . . On second play of the game, he made outstanding play to dart inside and stop Benson for a 1-yard gain. . . On next play, he stayed at home on a misdirection rollout and dropped Rodgers for a 10-yard sack. But when he flipped his helmet off, he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, a 15-yard penalty." Noted: It looked to me like Smith's helmet was already coming off when Smith facilitated it coming off all the way.

Also from Maiocco: his weekly look at the 49ers' offensive players. On Bruce Miller: "He started at fullback and played a career-high 37 snaps. Last season, he played less than one-third of the team's offensive snaps. ... He made a good block on cornerback Tramon Williams to help Gore pick up 10 yards in second quarter. ... He missed safety Charles Woodson on a blitz for a third-quarter sack of Smith for minus-3 yards. ... Made strong block on Williams to open way for Gore's 21-yard gain in third quarter."

Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle looks through Joe Staley's eyes at differences between playing offensive and defensive lines.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Chris Clemons remained the team's best pass-rusher, perhaps disproportionately so. And he continued a trend of collecting sacks on the road. Farnsworth: "Of Clemons’ 23 sacks, 18.5 have come in other venues, with just 6.5 at CenturyLink Field. What gives? The din generated by the 12th Man crowd while the opposing offense is on the field is supposed to play to the strengths of the Seahawks’ defense, and Clemons." Noted: Clemons has said teams play him more cautiously in Seattle.

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle looks at the Seahawks' final offensive plays against Arizona. He says the Seahawks did a good job on fourth down taking Patrick Peterson out of the play and getting Sidney Rice matched up against Michael Adams, but Braylon Edwards' inability to finish the play against aggressive coverage was the difference between winning and losing for Seattle.

Also from Huard: Seattle's skill players weren't able to beat one-on-one coverage consistently enough. He thinks the Seahawks need to re-sign Kellen Winslow. He also thinks Golden Tate needs to make a difference.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks are studying replacement officials' tendencies to get a better feel for them. Seattle and Week 2 opponent Dallas lead the NFL in penalties through one game.

Danny Kelly of Field Gulls notes that Seattle's issues along the offensive line went far beyond rookie right guard J.R. Sweezy on Sunday. Noted: Having a rookie making his first start at an interior position can put pressure on the guys around him to adjust and help the younger player with his assignments. That's one way a rookie can hurt play at more than one position.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic looks at how Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb has dealt with criticism. Efforts to ignore it can be futile. Kolb: "My close family members and friends know how I am. It's the ones that you haven't talked to in two months. 'I heard this, man.' And I'm like, 'Dude, I didn't even know that went on.' You are not going to block 100 percent of it out."

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals guard Adam Snyder, who predicts good things from receiver Michael Floyd against New England in Week 2.

Josh Weinfuss of azcardinals.com profiles linebacker Paris Lenon, who delivered a passionate speech Saturday night.