How I See It: NFC West Stock Watch

December, 29, 2010
12/29/10
10:15
AM ET
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

1. Mike Singletary, 49ers ex-coach: Singletary lasted only one full season as the 49ers' head coach. The experience featured enough turmoil -- and defeats -- to damage the chances of Singletary becoming a head coach again despite some appealing leadership attributes. The fact that Singletary has never been a coordinator could force him to become a position coach again if he chooses to remain in coaching at the NFL level.

2. Marcus Trufant, Seahawks CB: Seattle allowed five touchdown passes to Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman. The entire defense struggled. Trufant struggled in particular. Coach Pete Carroll did not sugarcoat his analysis. Carroll: " 'Tru' had a hard game. This was a tough game. He really had a fairly routine play on [Kellen] Winslow on the first touchdown because it was a zone and he was outside of him and as he looked in the backfield, [Winslow] snuck underneath him and made a nice play. The other one was a one-on-one, no help, nothing coverage on full blitz and the guy got inside of him and made a nice play for the touchdown. So those are plays that are really regrettable. The other one was a play that looks like his responsibility, but it was a zone that should have gotten taken care of. But those were tough plays. We count on 'Tru' to make those plays and he knows that and he’d be the first to tell you. But they did get him on those and so we wish like crazy he’d have come through and held outside leverage throughout the little scramble of the quarterback and flow to him, but he didn’t get it done and those are the plays you get beat on."

3. Shawntae Spencer and Nate Clements, 49ers CBs: Both players appeared confused during key points of the 49ers' elimination game against St. Louis. Clements committed a pass-interference penalty on a trick play, giving the Rams a first down deep in 49ers territory. Spencer walked away from Rams receiver Danario Alexander, mistakenly believing he had touched Alexander down following a long completion. Alexander got up, continued running and nearly scored before Spencer even knew what was happening. These plays typified the 49ers' struggles in the secondary this season.

RISING

[+] EnlargeAndre Roberts
AP Photo/James D. SmithAndre Roberts caught five passes for 110 yards and one touchdown in the Cardinals' victory over the Cowboys.
1. Danario Alexander, Rams WR: Six receptions for 99 yards served notice that Alexander had re-emerged as a significant part of the Rams' offensive plan. St. Louis needs all the playmakers it can get. Alexander has unusual physical attributes in that he is 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds. His contributions against the 49ers -- marked by receptions on three consecutive plays as the team drove toward a fourth-quarter touchdown -- significantly enhanced the Rams' playoff chances.

2. Andre Roberts, Cardinals WR: The rookie third-round draft choice caught five passes for 110 yards and a touchdown during the Cardinals' 27-26 victory over Dallas. He had four punts returns and five kickoff returns, including a 32-yarder that contributed to the Cowboys working from a long field early in the fourth quarter. Roberts' 74-yard touchdown catch was the Cardinals' longest reception of the season. No other player on the team has caught a pass covering more than 43 yards.

3. Cardinals defense: Darnell Dockett had two sacks. Calais Campbell, Clark Haggans and rookie O'Brien Schofield had one apiece. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler returned interceptions for touchdowns. Rodgers-Cromartie had three passes defensed. The Cardinals' defense played with renewed energy, helping Arizona build a 21-3 lead.

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