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Wednesday, November 17, 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. Adrian Wilson, Cardinals SS. We've all seen the Cardinals' Pro Bowl strong safety have bad moments here or there. His dominance around the line of scrimmage doesn't always serve him as well in coverage. I've just never seen Wilson flustered so frequently over such an extended period. It's getting to the point where opposing quarterbacks can simply target whichever player Wilson appears to be covering with expectations that good things will happen for the offense. Wilson's frustration has been obvious through his body language. He can't get a break, either. The one-armed reception Seattle's Mike Williams made against him over the middle Sunday provided fitting punctuation on a difficult day.

2. Bill Davis, Cardinals defensive coordinator. The Cardinals have allowed 407, 507 and 490 yards in their past three games. They have allowed more points than any team in the league. They are missing tackles left and right. The defense appears to have no confidence, no killer instinct and poor fundamentals. Younger players such as Greg Toler and Calais Campbell appear to be regressing.

3. Alex Smith, 49ers QB. An injury forced Smith to the sideline, where he has watched the 49ers' offense flourish without him. It's possible Smith has played his last down for the 49ers. His contract expires after this season and Smith hasn't done enough to win over management.

RISING

Troy Smith
Troy Smith has guided the 49ers to victories in consecutive starts.
1. Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks QB. A few more performances like the one Hasselbeck turned in against Arizona will force the Seahawks to address his contract situation. Hasselbeck passed for 333 yards without an interceptions in his best showing of the season. He'll need to get Russell Okung back in the lineup at left tackle, particularly against stronger defenses. Protecting Hasselbeck becomes more important after the quarterback suffered a concussion two weeks ago and cracked bones in his left wrist Sunday.

2. Troy Smith, 49ers QB. Two victories in two starts would have sufficed. How Smith led those victories has sent his stock surging. Smith's big-play ability has been the difference, separating him from Alex Smith and giving the 49ers renewed hope in the unsettled NFC West race. The 49ers have not committed a turnover since Troy Smith became the starter. To be fair, they committed only one in the two games before Troy Smith replaced Alex Smith, and David Carr was responsible for that one.

3. Mike Williams, Seahawks WR. Williams' stock has experienced wild swings in recent weeks. His 11-catch, 145-yard effort against Arizona re-established him as one of the two top receivers in the division this season. Williams has won contested throws even more impressively than Larry Fitzgerald this season.