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Wednesday, October 6, 2010
How I See It: NFC West Stock Watch

By Mike Sando

NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

1. Derek Anderson, Cardinals QB. The Cardinals benched him only four games into the season. The move might not be permanent, but it was telling. Anderson had to know the Cardinals were entertaining other long-term plans at the position, but he probably figured to get longer than 14 quarters.

Clements
49ers cornerback Nate Clements' fumble might have cost San Francisco a victory.
2. Nate Clements, 49ers CB. Clements was enjoying a strong game against the Atlanta Falcons until he lost a fumble during an interception return, then ducked out of the locker room without publicly accounting for his miscue. The decision to go for a touchdown return was not the best decision given the score and game situation. If Clements was going to go for the return, he needed to make ball security his top priority.

3. Justin Forsett, Seahawks RB. Marshawn Lynch's addition to the Seahawks means Forsett no longer projects as the starter this season. Seattle has big plans for Lynch. The bye week gives the Seahawks time to prepare Lynch for the team's game against Chicago. Forsett will remain an important part of the rotation, but he's a less important part now.

RISING

1. Sam Bradford, Rams QB. Throwing two touchdown passes to help end the Rams' 17-game NFC West losing streak means Bradford is providing immediate returns on a long-term investment. He's looking like the best quarterback in the division only four games into his career.

2. Taylor Mays, 49ers S. The 49ers' decision to release veteran safety Michael Lewis became less of a story when Mays replaced him capably and, by the way, accounted for half the team's points with a spectacular special-teams touchdown. Consider this a running start for Mays.

3. Max Hall, Cardinals QB. Hall is on the rising list the way Forsett is on the falling list -- through circumstances involving another player. Anderson's benching, whether permanent or not, suggests Hall will probably be starting for the Cardinals sooner, not later.