Monday, January 7, 2013
Around the NFC West: Divisional thoughts
By Mike Sando
WASHINGTON -- Greetings from a table near Gate 18 at Reagan National Airport. I've got about 25 minutes until boarding and hope to share a few NFC West-related thoughts to help get the conversation going this morning.
Seahawks fans are everywhere around this gate for one of the few direct flights back to Seattle. The team has landed back in Seattle following its 24-14 victory over the Washington Redskins in the wild-card round Sunday.
The game did not live up to expectations as far as the anticipated duel between rookie quarterbacks. Robert Griffin III's injury put the Redskins at a disadvantage. Once Seattle weathered a rough first quarter, this game felt like one the Seahawks should have won by 30. They didn't care how they won the game, of course. They just wanted to win it. I'm expecting a better game from Russell Wilson against Atlanta in the divisional round.
A few additional thoughts from around the division:
- Interesting take from Tim Kawakami on how the 49ers should approach their game against Green Bay in the divisional round. He thinks the 49ers need to bully their way to victory, avoiding a duel between Colin Kaepernick and Aaron Rodgers. I see the point, but the 49ers made the change to Kaepernick on the premise he gave them the best chance to win a Super Bowl. It's time to turn him loose, in my view.
- With Chip Kelley apparently staying at Oregon, Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has a better shot at landing the head-coaching job with the Philadelphia Eagles, it appears. Meanwhile, Seattle's offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, is drawing interest from the Chicago Bears, ESPN's John Clayton reports. Losing either would hurt, but Seattle does have some protection on staff. Pete Carroll is a defensive-minded head coach, insulating the Seahawks from staff departures on that side of the ball. On offense, line coach Tom Cable provides some insurance for losing Bevell. He's been a head coach, after all. Cable focuses more on the run game. Bevell handles the passing game. Wilson is so far ahead of the quarterback curve, I wonder if he's less dependent on having a strong coach for the passing game.
- I've got some catching up to do on the Arizona Cardinals' coaching and general manager searches. Jay Gruden's name is the most recent one to emerge on the coaching front.
- The St. Louis Rams benefited from the Seahawks' victory Sunday. They'll get a higher draft choice in return from Washington in the Griffin trade than they would have had the Redskins won the game. I don't have the draft order on hand, but if you've seen it, please share in the comments section.
I've boarded my flight and the plane is about to taken off. I'll check in after a bit once we're in the air. Thanks for coming along.