NFC West: Brent Jones

NFL Nation: 4 Downs -- NFC West

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
10:00
AM ET
video
Catch us if you can.

That’s a message the Seattle Seahawks could send out to the rest of the NFC West.

It is also something the San Francisco 49ers might say to the Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams. But the Cardinals and Rams might have a statement of their own: We’re coming for you.

By almost everyone’s estimation, the NFC West is the best division in the NFL. It includes a Super Bowl champion in Seattle along with a team in San Francisco that, arguably, came up one play short of reaching its second consecutive Super Bowl.

It also includes a team in Arizona that won 10 games, one of which was a victory at Seattle -- the Seahawks' only home loss in 2013. And there's a team in St. Louis that won two of its last three games to finish 7-9 while playing most of the season without starting quarterback Sam Bradford.

So the question heading into 2014 is whether the Cardinals and Rams are in position to catch the Seahawks and 49ers. Have Arizona and St. Louis closed the gap on what might be the NFL’s two best teams?

The Cardinals have been active in free agency, signing cornerback Antonio Cromartie, offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, tight end John Carlson, receiver/kick returner Ted Ginn, running back Jonathan Dwyer and offensive lineman Ted Larsen.

Clearly, the competition in this division keeps getting better.

The four writers who cover the division for ESPN.com’s NFL Nation -- Terry Blount in Seattle, Bill Williamson in San Francisco, Josh Weinfuss in Arizona and Nick Wagoner in St. Louis -- take a look at where things stand in the NFC West on four key topics. We also polled our Twitter followers to find how they viewed the issues.

First Down

The Cardinals have made significant moves in free agency. The Rams, aside from keeping Rodger Saffold, have mostly stood pat. Which is closer to the playoffs?


Terry Blount: This is a no-brainer for me. The Cardinals are a team on the rise with one of the NFL's best coaches in Bruce Arians. He took a 5-11 team and transformed it to 10-6 in one season. He was 9-3 at Indianapolis in 2012 while filling in for Chuck Pagano. Arizona was 7-2 in its last nine games and won three of the last four, with the only loss being 23-20 to the 49ers in the season finale. The Cardinals could become a serious challenger to the two-team stronghold of Seattle and San Francisco. However, I do believe the Rams will have a winning season if they can hold their own in the division games.

Nick Wagoner: It's hard to evaluate this without seeing what happens in the draft, especially with the Rams having two premium picks. Even then it would be unfair to judge right away. Still, I have to go with the Cardinals. They were trending up at the end of the season and patched a big hole with offensive tackle Jared Veldheer. Losing Karlos Dansby was a blow, but adding cornerback Antonio Cromartie to a talented stable at the position makes them better. The Rams, meanwhile, are clearly counting on a whole lot of in-house improvement and a big draft. Keeping Saffold was important (and lucky), but it seems risky to pin all hopes on a leap to the playoffs on a group of young players all making a jump at the same time.

Josh Weinfuss: Arizona is the easy answer, and that's not because I cover them. The Cardinals were 10-6 last season and the first team kept out of the postseason. All the Cardinals have done this offseason is fix deficiencies and plug holes. Their offensive line got markedly better with the addition of left tackle Jared Veldheer. Their wide receiver corps and kick return game were solidified with Ted Ginn, and they now have one of the best cornerback tandems in the league with Antonio Cromartie coming on board. General manager Steve Keim looked at what went wrong in 2013 and went to work on fixes. It should put the Cardinals over the playoff hump.

Bill Williamson: It has to be Arizona. The Cardinals were so close to making the playoffs last season. They would have likely been dangerous in the postseason too. I like the way this franchise is shaping up. It seems like it is well run and well coached. The roster is also getting deep. Carson Palmer will have to be replaced sooner or later, but the Cardinals are on to something. The Rams certainly have some nice pieces and are probably the best fourth-place team in the NFL, but they aren't close to matching what Arizona has going for it.


Second Down

The Seahawks and 49ers played for the NFC title in January. Any reason to believe either won't return to the postseason?


Blount: They were the two best teams in the NFL last season, and there's no legitimate reason to think they won't be among the best in 2014. Seattle has lost 10 players who were on the Super Bowl roster, but other than wide receiver Golden Tate, none of them were on the team's priority list to keep. The 49ers move into a shiny new stadium. The only question for San Francisco is the precarious relationship between coach Jim Harbaugh and team executives. Who knows what the future holds there, but it shouldn't matter on game day.

Wagoner: Aside from some debilitating injuries, it's hard to see how either team has taken a major step back. The Seahawks have lost some good players in free agency, but even those players seemingly already had replacements in place. Nobody does a better job of developing talent than Seattle. The Seahawks still have holes to patch on the offensive line and losing receiver Golden Tate is a blow, so there could be some hope the offense will regress. But the defense makes it all go, and it doesn't look like it's going to lose any of its most prized components. As for the Niners, they are the more likely of the two to take a step back, but it's hard to see them taking enough of one to fall out of the postseason. For most of their key free-agent losses they were able to quickly come up with a replacement as good or better than the player lost, and retaining Anquan Boldin says they are looking to make another run at the Super Bowl. Plus, they will have a fully healthy Michael Crabtree ready for the season. Until proven otherwise, these two teams remain the class of the NFC and probably the NFL.

Weinfuss: The only reason either of them won't make the playoffs in 2014 is because the Cardinals or Rams will take their place. The gap between the top and bottom of the NFC West has closed significantly this offseason, making the West much like the Southeastern Conference in college football; everybody will beat up on each other. It's likely the West, if it's anything like last season, can see three teams in the playoffs -- its champion and the two wild cards. If one of the teams between Seattle and San Francisco were not to make it, it's tough, but I think Seattle might slip. The Seahawks lost a significant part of their defensive line and will be going through a Super Bowl hangover. That's risky to deal with and still make the playoffs. On the other hand, San Francisco will be hungry from losing to Seattle in the NFC Championship Game.

Williamson: I believe these are the two best teams in the NFL. So it's difficult to fathom that either team won't find its way into the playoffs, barring major injuries. Arizona, though, could create an issue for the Seahawks and 49ers. The Cardinals are going to win a lot of games, so both Seattle and San Francisco have to be careful or things could get tricky. In the end, I can see all three teams making the playoffs. This is the reason this division is so intriguing and so fun: Every game is critical. There is just not much room for error. Look at the 49ers last year. They went 12-4, but a 1-2 start hamstrung them. They could never fully recover despite having a great overall regular season. The same intensity will be a factor in 2014 in the NFC West.


Third Down

Will Rams quarterback Sam Bradford come back strong from an ACL injury, and what effect will he have on St. Louis having its coveted breakthrough year?


Blount: I think Bradford will be fine as far as the ACL goes, but this is a make-or-break year for him in my view. Bradford was playing pretty well before his injury last year, but the verdict still is out whether he can be an elite quarterback. He enters this season with the best supporting cast he's ever had, but playing in this division with teams that emphasize physical defensive play makes it difficult to show improvement.

Wagoner: All indications from the Rams are that Bradford's rehab is coming along well and he's on schedule to make his return in plenty of time for the start of the regular season. He apparently had a clean tear of the ACL, but he has been rehabbing for a handful of months and should resume throwing soon. Bradford's healthy return means everything to the Rams' chances in 2014. Believe it or not, this is his fifth season in the NFL and, much like the team, this is the time to make some noise. The Rams attempted to open up the offense in the first quarter of 2013 with Bradford to miserable results. They switched to a more run-oriented attack in Week 5 and the offense performed better. Bradford also played better as the run game opened up play-action opportunities in the passing game. It will be interesting to see if the Rams choose to go a bit more balanced with Bradford at the controls or if they continue at the same run-heavy pace they played with backup Kellen Clemens. Either way, Bradford's contract has two years left on it. If he wants a lucrative extension, this is the time to prove he's worth it.

Weinfuss: Short answer, yes, Bradford will come back strong. Just look at how he started in 2013. He was on pace for a massive year statistically before he got hurt. If he can pick up where he left off, Bradford will return with a bang and show he's still one of the better quarterbacks in the league. As we've seen, a top-tier quarterback can be the difference between sitting idle in the standings and having a breakthrough year. With the talent that surrounds the Rams, with tight end Jared Cook, running back Zac Stacy and wide receivers Tavon Austin, Chris Givens and Austin Pettis, among others, Bradford may singlehandedly help close the gap between the Rams and the top of the NFC West.

Williamson: I have to be honest: I'm not a big Sam Bradford guy. I think he's just OK. Just OK doesn't cut it in this division, especially considering the defenses he has to play six times a season in the NFC West. He's serviceable, but he's not the answer. Given the state of this division, I cannot envision a scenario where Bradford is the reason the Rams become the class of the NFC West. I think they can get by with Bradford for the short term, but the Rams are going to have to start thinking about the future at this position much earlier than expected when Bradford was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 draft.


Fourth Down

If you had to start a team with either Seahawks QB Russell Wilson or 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, whom would you choose?


Blount: You must be kidding. Give me Wilson every time, every day in every situation. Yes, Kaepernick is 5 inches taller than Wilson. Is there really anyone left who thinks Wilson's lack of height matters? Wilson also is at his best in pressure situations. He lives for it. And he is a more polished person on the field, and off it, than Kaepernick. That's not an observation. It's a fact. But this isn't a rip on Kaepernick. You would be hard-pressed to find any 25-year-old as polished as Wilson. The 49ers can win a Super Bowl with Kaepernick, and probably will soon. But if I'm starting a team, whether it is in football or almost any other life endeavor, I'll take Wilson without a doubt.

Wagoner: Wilson. For those of us covering other teams in the division, it's hard not to admire what he brings to the table. He presents himself as the consummate professional, and even opponents praise him for his work habits, intelligence and ability. He's already got the Super Bowl ring, and it's easy to see how he could add a few more. He's not all the way there in terms of his potential either, and it's probably safe to assume he's just going to keep getting better as his career goes along. That's nothing against Kaepernick, who is a unique talent in his own right, but there aren't many young quarterbacks in the league worth choosing over Wilson.

Weinfuss: Russell Wilson would be my pick, mainly because of his poise and maturity behind center. Colin Kaepernick is undoubtedly talented, but I get the sense he still has a lot of growing to do as a quarterback. He's tough to bring down, especially in the open field, but when he's pressured in the pocket, Kaepernick seems to panic and I wouldn't want that in a quarterback. I also think Wilson, despite his physical stature, is built to last. He's heady enough to stay out of harm's way, and his poise in the huddle will go a long way in leading a team.

Williamson: I'd take Kaepernick. I know it's a tough sell right now, since Wilson's team has beaten Kaepernick and the 49ers three of the past four times they've met, including the NFC title game, and the fact that Wilson has won a Super Bowl. I respect the value of Super Bowl wins and believe quarterback is the most critical position in sports. I'm sure I will smell like a homer with the Kaepernick pick. But moving forward, I just think Kaepernick has a higher ceiling. I think he can take over games more than Wilson can at a higher rate. Players built like Kaepernick and as athletic as Kaepernick just don't exist. He is special. He works extremely hard at his craft and is well coached. I'd take him, and I wouldn't look back. This isn't a knock on Wilson. He is proven and is going to be great. But if I'm starting a team, I'm taking Kaepernick, and I bet more general managers would agree than would disagree.

 

Vernon Davis: Little things elevating 49ers

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
12:25
AM ET
SAN FRANCISCO -- Vernon Davis, once the San Francisco 49ers' publicly brashest player, has grown into a reliable source of perspective.

The Pro Bowl tight end broke open the 49ers' 23-7 victory over Arizona with a second-half touchdown reception Sunday. He said the 49ers have long been a confident team, but in past seasons, doubt crept in when the defeats piled up.

Now, at 9-1, the doubt is gone. Why? One reason, Davis said, was the new coaching staff's insistence upon coaching to the smallest details, a theme quarterback Alex Smith has hit upon as well.

"It makes a big difference in my eyes, I believe," Davis said. "A little thing could be me getting the correct depth on my route that’s 12 yards. Don’t get 11, get 12. Don’t get 14, get 12, those type of things. Catching the ball with your eyes. Whether it’s (tackle) Anthony Davis getting his second step down right after his first step, those little things right there can make a difference, a big difference."

Right, but didn't previous coaches emphasize details as well?

"One thing that I found out is that you can focus on the little things as much as you can, year after year after year, but you revert back to your bad habits," Davis said. "You always revert back. That’s what the coaches are there for: to get on you. Sometimes, you get coaches that don’t really talk about the little things. You might be doing so well that they don’t mention the little things to you."

The 49ers won comfortably Sunday, but their offense and special teams didn't do all the little things well. There were blocked field goals, dropped passes, errant throws and penalties in the return game.

Davis' touchdown reception was the 34th of his career, moving him past Brent Jones on the 49ers' all-time list for tight ends. Again, though, Davis sought perspective.

"It's a great feeling," he said. "The win meant more to me today. I’m more excited about the win than anything. I can celebrate the touchdown catch later. It’s all about winning right now and that’s what I’m most excited about."

Best 49ers Team Ever: 1989

June, 24, 2010
6/24/10
9:30
AM ET
Notable players: QB Joe Montana, QB Steve Young, WR Jerry Rice, WR John Taylor, RB Roger Craig, FB Tom Rathman, TE Brent Jones, G Guy McIntyre, FS Ronnie Lott, OLB Charles Haley, DE Pierce Holt, DE Kevin Fagan, OLB Keena Turner, LB Matt Millen.

[+] EnlargeJoe Montana
Andy Hayt/Getty ImagesJoe Montana and the 49ers were at the height of their success during the 1989 season.
Analysis: The San Francisco 49ers had multiple teams worthy of consideration as the best in franchise history. I'll take the one that outscored its opponents 126-26 during the postseason, including 55-10 over the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. Denver led the NFL in scoring defense that season.

The 1989 team featured the 49ers' offense at the peak of its powers.

Joe Montana averaged 9.1 yards per attempt with 13 starts that season. The figure for three-game starter Steve Young -- 10.9 yards per attempt -- was even more ridiculous. Drew Brees set a career high at 8.5 yards per attempt last season. Tom Brady's average was 8.3 during his historic 2007 season. Dan Marino was at 9.0 in his 1984 career season. None could match the 49ers' top two quarterbacks during this special season.

This was the first 49ers team of the 1980s without Bill Walsh, but offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren was still there, as were nearly all of the team's iconic offensive players from the decade. Tight end Brent Jones emerged as a starter. Roger Craig topped 1,000 yards rushing. Fullback Tom Rathman caught 73 passes. Montana set a career high for passer rating at 112.1, completing 70.2 percent with 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Rice caught 17 touchdown passes while averaging 18.1 yards per reception.

The defense was typically overlooked except by those forced to play against it. John Elway completed only 10 of 26 passes for 108 yards and two interceptions against the 49ers in the Super Bowl.

"Their defense doesn't get enough credit," Broncos coach Dan Reeves said afterward. ''I can't say enough about them.''

Walsh later regretted retiring. This team made it easy to see why.

Most impressive win: Having already touched on the Super Bowl victory, let's focus on the victory that delivered the NFC West title to San Francisco that season. Montana passed for 458 yards, including 286 to receiver John Taylor, and the 49ers twice overcame 17-point deficits to edge the division-rival Rams, 30-27, on the road.

Transcending Walsh: This 49ers team became the only one in NFL history to win back-to-back Super Bowls with different head coaches. The change from Walsh to George Seifert might have actually helped this team, at least for a season. The offensive-minded Walsh left the defensive-minded Seifert with a veteran offense trained to function at a high level without much big-picture help. Holmgren took the best of what Walsh taught him and made it even better with his own tweaking. In that sense, the 1989 team might have gotten the best of what Walsh and Holmgren had to offer. Montana was also at his best. He never enjoyed a finer season.

Honorable mention

1984: This was the team that knocked off Marino in the Super Bowl after the quarterback shredded defenses for a then-record 48 touchdown passes. This was a great 49ers team with a franchise-best 15-1 record, but the best group in 49ers history needed to include Rice, I thought. He arrived the next year.

1994: Proponents of this team will point to a defense featuring Deion Sanders, Rickey Jackson, Ken Norton, Merton Hanks, Eric Davis, Tim McDonald, Bryant Young and others. They'll point to Young's record six touchdown passes against the San Diego Chargers in the Super Bowl.

1948: Let's save some recognition for one of the early 49ers teams. This one outscored opponents by more than 17 points per game on its way to a 12-2 record. Frankie Albert put up modern-day numbers with 29 touchdown passes, 10 interceptions and a 102.9 rating.
Jan Boehm's recent passing recalled this 2008 ESPN.com item on the longtime 49ers fan.

"She proudly displays more than 1,000 items of 49ers memorabilia, including pictures of her all-time favorite players, Steve Young and Brent Jones," Doug Ward wrote in the 2008 vignette.

Rest in peace, Ms. Boehm.

Rice did not take Canton for granted

February, 6, 2010
2/06/10
7:48
PM ET
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Jerry Rice left nothing to chance during his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks.

The all-time receiving leader certainly wasn't banking on enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, even if others viewed his candidacy as a no-brainer.

[+] EnlargeJerry Rice
AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeAn emotional Jerry Rice reacts to his induction into the Hall of Fame.
"It means the world because a weight is on your shoulder for so long and you just never know," Rice said after his selection as part of the 2010 class. "I never took it for granted. I'm a very superstitious guy and I didn't think of myself as being a shoo-in."

Rice's face revealed elation even well after his name was announced.

"When my name got called, it was just like when I got drafted by the San Francisco 49ers," he said. "All the emotions hit and like I said, I'm glad to be part of this class. Now I get a chance to say thank you to everyone that played a very important part in my life: my family, my coaches -- high school, college, professionally -- the fans and media because I drew energy from my fans and also from the people who supported me."

Rice became emotional when reflecting on his late father, the late Bill Walsh and the values his parents instilled in him through hard work and old-school discipline. Rice recalled the way his father made him lay bricks as a kid and the hard stares his dad would give him when young Jerry needed to be kept in line. He also admitted that some 49ers teammates initially wondered if he was showboating when he insisted upon taking every reception to the end zone during practices.

"But then it became contagious and Roger Craig started doing it, Brent Jones, and it was all for just getting in position so you could make blocks downfield," Rice said. "If you came to a practice for the San Francisco 49ers, it was just like a game situation."

Rice voiced support for Craig, Charles Haley, Tim Brown and the other former teammates who fell short on Hall of Fame voting.

Brown, one of 15 finalists this year, called Rice and offered congratulations -- on Friday.

"But still, I didn't take it for granted," Rice said. "I think he deserves to be in here, also."

Sounding off: NFC West on the airwaves

January, 25, 2010
1/25/10
10:22
AM ET
The latest in our periodic spins around the NFC West radio dials:

Rams

101ESPN St. Louis: cornerback Ron Bartell

101ESPN St. Louis: reporter Jim Thomas

101ESPN St. Louis: reporter Sam Farmer (see 7:55 mark)

101ESPN St. Louis: Howie Long

49ers

KNBR680: Ronnie Lott

KNBR680: Bryant Young

KNBR680: Brent Jones

Cardinals

KTAR620 Phoenix: quarterback Matt Leinart

KTAR620 Phoenix: outside linebacker/defensive end Bertrand Berry

KTAR620 Phoenix: special-teams coach Kevin Spencer

KTAR620 Phoenix: Warren Moon on Kurt Warner

KTAR620 Phoenix: Sando

azcardinals.com: Cardinals Underground

Seahawks
710ESPN Seattle: Dave Wyman

101ESPN St. Louis: Steve Largent

KJR950 Seattle: defensive coordinator Gus Bradley

KJR950 Seattle: coach Pete Carroll

KJR950 Seattle: general manager John Schneider

Sounding off: NFC West on the airwaves

September, 25, 2009
9/25/09
9:18
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


The latest in our periodic spin around the NFC West radio dials:
Rams

101ESPN St. Louis: Rams executive Kevin Demoff

101ESPN St. Louis: Dan Dierdorf

101ESPN St. Louis: former linebacker Mike Jones

101ESPN St. Louis: Jones continued

101ESPN St. Louis: Mark Schlereth

101ESPN St. Louis: general manager Billy Devaney

101ESPN St. Louis: former scout Daniel Jeremiah

590 The Fan: receiver Laurent Robinson

590 The Fan: defensive lineman Clifton Ryan

49ers

KNBR680: tight end Delanie Walker

KNBR680: snapper Brian Jennings

KNBR680: Brent Jones

KNBR680: Steve Young

Cardinals

KTAR620: Ken Whisenhunt

XTRA910: safety Adrian Wilson

XTRA910: quarterback Kurt Warner

azcardinals.com: Cardinals Underground

Seahawks
710ESPN Seattle: linebacker David Hawthorne

710ESPN Seattle: John Clayton

710ESPN Seattle: running back Justin Forsett

KJR950: Seahawks Round Table

KJR950: quarterback Seneca Wallace

KJR950: reporter Dave Boling

KJR950: guard Rob Sims

As always, please leave links to additional audio in the comments section. I'll add items as needed. The links to 590 The Fan in St. Louis take you media players. I'd like to pull direct links but didn't immediately see a way to do it.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Marc Bulger as the Rams' quarterback learns a new offense. Bulger expects the offense to be more receiver friendly. That is probably true once the ball is snapped. I'll be curious to see how the receivers and everyone else handles learning the extensive verbiage associated with this system. The Seahawks are navigating away from some of those complexities, hoping shorter learning curves will help receivers become productive with less time in the offense.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' interest in Steelers free-agent tackle Marvel Smith comes amid concerns about Smith's history of back injuries. Smith's agent says his client is healthy and eager to play near his Bay Area roots.

Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News offers good-natured advice for 49ers coach Mike Singletary. He discourages any potential interest in Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler while suggesting Singletary model some Vernon Davis dreads to keep the players loose.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says former 49ers tight end Brent Jones is among those offering post-career advice to current NFL players at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Jones on retiring young: "Golf gets old after a year."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says re-signing Bertrand Berry helps the Cardinals on the field and in the locker room. Same for bringing back Clark Haggans. Urban: "Having guys like him, Haggans and Bryan Robinson still around is big for a guy like Darnell Dockett. I am interested to see how Dockett is going forward, knowing he still wants an upgraded contract and now that his best buddy Antonio Smith isn't around."

John Morgan of Field Gulls offers names for consideration on a round-by-round basis as the Seahawks approach the draft. His thoughts on Eugene Monroe: "Monroe makes too much sense for too many reasons to ignore. He's probably the best offensive tackle in the draft, though some prefer Jason Smith's potential. He's athletic, with great feet; a great fit in a classic zone-blocking scheme, and is an already polished, even dominant pass blocker. Sean Locklear stays left tackle. Ray Willis sticks at right guard. Walter Jones, if he can play, sticks at left tackle and Monroe develops under one of the all-time greats while playing left guard."

ESPN's John Clayton checks in with former Seahawks receiver Bobby Engram. Engram on joining the Chiefs: "This is a young team. I'm excited about working with Matt Cassel. He's calm and collected, and he makes crisp, sharp decisions on the field. This is a team that played well but struggled to win games late in the fourth quarter. You go in there and try to lead by example."

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- In recent weeks I've wondered how 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz might feature Vernon Davis in the passing game. Davis caught 52 passes playing for the NFL's worst offense last season. That number would figure to spike if the offense improved, but Martz has never featured the tight end. What to think?

Speaking with Martz this afternoon helped clear up some of the confusion. Davis' yards per reception should improve, but we shouldn't expect him to catch significantly more passes.

Martz is not going to abandon his offensive principles in a mad rush to funnel the ball to Davis or any other player. In general terms, he needs what most offensive coordinators need from the position: a combination of blocking and receiving. The difference with Davis is that he can threaten defenses farther down the field than other tight ends. Martz said he looks forward to exploiting that ability this season. Hence, the likely increase in yards per reception.

We should measure Davis by how well he blocks and by his ability to make plays downfield. He averaged an underwhelming 9.8 yards per reception last season. Niners great Brent Jones averaged 12.5 yards per reception in a very different offense. That is also what Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow averaged for his career. Jones and Winslow played in offenses featuring multiple weapons on the outside. Martz has praised the talent at receiver in San Francisco, but that doesn't mean much when Arnaz Battle and Ashley Lelie are missing practices.

As for Davis: We should not become preoccupied with the number of receptions. In fact, if Davis is catching a disproportionate number of passes, the offense might not be functioning very well.

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