Sunday, November 22, 2009
Around the NFC West: Crabtree's concern
By Mike Sando
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says 49ers rookie Michael Crabtree thinks more about the passes he has dropped than the ones he has caught. Crumpacker counts two drops by Crabtree this season. Drops are subjective. ESPN Stats & Information counted four drops for Crabtree. I counted two in my play-by-play notes, one against Indianapolis and one against Chicago. I noted two other plays that were nearly drops, one against the Colts (on an interception), another on a third-and-1 play against Tennessee. Crabtree: "It bothers me. Sometimes I can't sleep at night when I drop passes. I keep it with me so when the game comes, I think about it and [try to] make plays."
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers have shown more balance from the shotgun formation, a necessity now that they are using the formation more frequently. Maiocco: "QBs coach Mike Johnson took a year off from coaching last season. During that time, he visited with several college programs. He went to Illinois because he felt the Big Ten program does the best job of running the ball from the spread formation. Johnson shared that knowledge with (offensive coordinator Jimmy) Raye during the months when the 49ers began installing their offense."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee outlines key matchups in the 49ers-Packers game, including Adam Snyder against Aaron Kampman. Barrows: "The Packers like to move Kampman all over the field, but he'll most commonly be rushing from the quarterback's right side. That will put him against Snyder, who struggled last week to contain Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye. The Packers also will try to overload the left side of their defensive line, meaning that Frank Gore will be asked to step forward and block the 260-pound Kampman from time to time. Gore is an excellent blocker, but that is a mismatch the Packers will look to exploit."
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers aren't saying which one of their receivers is the No. 1 option. Salaries usually do not lie. Crabtree is the No. 1 receiver in San Francisco.
Niners Nation's Florida Danny sifts through the stats, most favoring Green Bay, in previewing the 49ers-Packers game. The 49ers enjoyed success running outside against the Bears, but San Francisco has run up the middle a disproportionate amount the rest of the season, often with poor results.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals held spirited practices during the week, culminating with a fight between rookie practice-squader Trevor Canfield and second-year defensive lineman Kenny Iwebema on Friday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt wasn't sure what to make of it. Whisenhunt: "Listen, we are a long way from being that mature team that you can count on to show up every week and play the game you're supposed to play. We've made great strides in that direction, though, and this game will go a long way toward seeing where we are." Sounds like a challenge.
Also from Somers: He thinks the Rams should not be able to keep the game close if Arizona plays well. Somers: "The Cardinals should be ready to put a dominant game together. Their receiving corps is healthy, and Beanie Wells is emerging as a running threat. The offensive line will be making its 30th consecutive start together. The Rams don't match up well with the Cardinals. Defensive end Leonard Little, 35, has slowed down, although he shows occasional flashes of pass rush ability The Rams have spent draft pick after draft pick on defensive linemen, but none has emerged as an impact player."
More from Somers: Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson shares a bond with Hall of Famer Larry Wilson. They expected to get together in St. Louis.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Chike Okeafor will not play for the Cardinals in Week 11.
Also from Urban: The Cardinals have run out of teams to chase in the NFC West.
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says the Seahawks are on the short end of several mismatches against the Vikings. Linebacker Aaron Curry: "You can't be right against Brett Favre. You try to be right, but it doesn't matter how well you cover his receivers, he'll throw it in tight spots. He knows how to look everybody off, his pump fake is crucial. He's a very amazing quarterback and more athletic than people think." Curry was in kindergarten when Favre played his first NFL game.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks haven't won a road game against a team that finished with a winning record since the 2006 season. Seattle is 5-15 on the road since 2007, with four of the victories against the Rams and 49ers.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks need to crank up their pass rush. Coach Jim Mora: "It has been somewhat of a struggle for us lately."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune offers a podcast previewing the Seahawks' game at Minnesota.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams defensive lineman Victor Adeyanju has an opportunity to get more playing time. The Rams had little use for him earlier in the season. Adeyanju: "I was very down. At one point, I was losing sleep. I don't come here to sit around and not play. As a competitor, it hurt like hell. But it wasn't my call, and this is a team sport. ... So you have to look at that and say, you know what, I'll get my opportunity sooner or later."
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' Steven Jackson is on pace for 1,626 yards rushing. Center Jason Brown: "I consider it a privilege to be able to block for such a talented back; it's exciting every single week. He makes our job so much easier, because not only does he see the holes develop, he's going to make sure he gives everything he has."