If Curiosity Killed The Cat Then Who Led The Cat There In The First Place ….. ?
Well now that there’s a peace accord within the NFL and all parties appear to happy the preseason is under way questions will abound as to what we the fans ought to expect from the teams this upcoming regular season as well as what we have all witnessed so far in the preseason ? And as such it’s pretty much safe to say we will have our contenders and pretenders within the league this year.
Slideshow for your perusal .
Certainly questions will abound as to the lofty expectations for teams such as the San Francisco 49ers , Carolina Panthers , Denver Broncos , Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns . The Forty Niners come into this season with a new coach in Jim Harbaugh along with new coaching assistants and once again the onus will be upon Alex Smith to prove that he’s capable of leading this team . Far be it for me to suggest but the player has had his gamut of criticism over the course of his career , much of it valid ! . But then again, consider what he’s had to endure since his introduction into the NFL ? A coaching carousel , several changes in offensive coordinators and the very fact that the front office of this organization led by John York and his wife Denise DeBartolo York have never really had the presence of mind to even give this team their undivided attention. Instead they’ve simply paraded it around as a bauble for their socialite friends to gaze upon .
In the NFC West where the San Francisco 49ers reside their regular season schedule dictates that they take on their inhouse rivals the Seattle Seahawks , St Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals . Given the impressions of last season within the division you get the feeling that the quality of football played there won’t be up to the usual standards one would come to expect . Albeit , that last year the Seattle Seahawks would make the postseason , go on to knockout the then defending Superbowl champions , New Orleans Saints in the wildcard round of the playoffs.
This season if I had to pick a team to come out of the NFC West to make the postseason then I might have to go with the St Louis Rams ! Steve Spagnuolo has proven to me that he’s a good coach who can get the best out of his players. And in Sam Bradford he has one of the young rising stars in the league who may well go on to do some great things in the NFL if given the prerequisite tools , in being surrounded by a very good team . That being said this season the Rams will have to give it their all and show that the progress made under Spagnuolo hasn’t all gone unheeded . Certainly from an offensive standpoint you would expect this team show signs of progress based on last season’s figures . Most certainly with the offseason moves made and the draft choices you would expect to see some solid contributions from the likes of
Defensively if this team can hold its own and take heed of the lessons being taught by defensive coordinator Kevin Flajole then they ought to fare well over the course of the season . Certainly there’s reason to believe that the St Louis Rams can have and make this division truly competitive . Granted , the NFC West has never really been highly looked upon as one of the more competitive divisions within the NFL as it has its detractors as well as supporters across the nation. That being said every division within this league has its highs and lows , some more so than others .
If there’s one thing that Jim Harbaugh has to deal with and make it an absolute priority , then that will be settling upon of a starting quarterback for the regular season . Other than Alex Smith the coach has Colin Kaepernick and McLeod Bethel-Thompson but it is being rumored that the coach will be bringing in seasoned veterans Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper . This may merely be a backup plan should things not work out concerning Harbaugh’s insistence that Alex Smith is the team’s starter but given the player’s inability and lack of productivity in preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints where the team was simply outplayed in a rather lopsided 24-3 defeat . If anything , the coach had to have been perturbed by what he saw from his starter but he’s prepared to show his implicit faith in Smith until all else fails. Given that display , I’d say that scenario is likely to happen sooner rather than later !
The Forty Niners have been prudent in the draft seeking to bolster the roster with prudent choices that will complement this team overall. Along with their offseason acquisitions it is thought that Harbaugh and coaching staff will seek to progress with this squad systematically looking for improvements over the course of the season from their rookies as well as greater contributions from the veterans on the team. And for the likes of draft choices Aldon Smith , Colin Kaepernick , Chris Culliver , Kendall Hunter , Daniel Kilgore and Ronald Johnson .
ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 13: St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo talks to quarterback Sam Bradford (8) during the first half of the NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……..
We certainly know what the San Francisco 49ers are capable of from an offensive standpoint given the right set of circumstances as can be seen from their play over the course of last season . But it has been the defense that has been as such the team’s Achilles Heel apart from the inconsistent play of Alex Smith over the course of last year.
Clearly this will be a season of can we , or will we be able to overcome all forms adversities placed in our way as far as Jim Harbaugh and his team are concerned . The task ahead for this rookie NFL coach will be an arduous task but the faith shown in him by GM Trent Baalke and team President & CEO Jed York must have been fortified in the success achieved at Stanford as a college coach .
As much I believe that the St Louis Rams are capable of winning the NFC West outright, my choice is predicated upon there being an immense contribution from seasoned veterans on this team such as Steven Jackson , Jerious Norwood , Brady Poppinga and Josh Brown to lead this squad throughout the season . Last season these players played their part contributing to the success of the team which narrowly missed the postseason by failing to win an additional game that would have guaranteed the St Louis Rams winning the division , thereby toppling the Seattle Seahawks .
The moves made by GM Billy Devaney in conjunction with Steve Spagnuolo and the coaching staff sets this organization up for the future and the immediacy of now. Most certainly with the draft choices and the existing roster in place there’s a very good reason that we ought to see real progress throughout the course of this season . It is clear that the organization now feels that they have found their man in Sam Bradford as the franchise quarterback to lead this team well into the future . And if the player shows the growth and maturity already exhibited then we are liable to see this team reach excel once again . The fans yearn for it and so too do Bradford’s teammates at this juncture after some pretty languid years , ensuing their Superbowl ( SBXXXIV) triumph .
Picture gallery for your perusal .
What thoughts if any do you have concerning the upcoming NFL season and in particular with regard to the teams within the NFC West ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and anything else you believe to be pertinent .
Alan aka tophatal …….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com
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Picture and slide show details below .
(1) FILE – This Aug. 12, 2011 file photo shows San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh prior to an NFL football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Before he transformed Stanford from a laughingstock to a powerhouse and achieved his goal of being an NFL head coach tasked with rebuilding the floundering San Francisco 49ers, Harbaugh got his full-time coaching career started across the bay in Oakland AP Photo/Bill Feig …..
(2) In this Aug. 12, 2011 photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) calls for the snap from New Orleans Saints center Olin Kreutz (50) during an NFL preseason football game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Drew Brees is coming to grips with the fact that a couple familiar faces will be missing from the table when he takes the offensive line out for dinner each week. New Orleans lost their starting center of the past three seasons when Jonathan Goodwin opted to go to San Francisco in free agency and then head coach Sean Payton released starting right tackle Jon Stinchcomb. AP Photo/Bill Feig …….
(3) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith pulls back to throw during NFL football training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu …….
(4) San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Jeremiah Masoli (3), Alex Smith (11), Colin Kaepernick (7), and McLeod Bethel-Thompson practice during NFL football training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu …….
(5) St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford drinks on the sidelines between drills during NFL football training camp Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011, at the Rams’ training facility in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …..
(6) FILE- The July 31, 2011 file photo shows St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson runs with the ball during NFL football camp at the Rams’ training facility in St. Louis. The Rams have planned to get Jackson on the field for the second preseason game. Jackson missed much of Tuesday Aug. 16, 2011 practice, though, with a hip flexor issue . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …….
(7) ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 13: Robert Quinn (94) of the St. Louis Rams gets past a block by Anthony Castonzo (74) of the Indianapolis Colts during the NFL preseason game at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Colts 33-10 . Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images …….
(8) St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, left, shakes hands with Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell at the end of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011 in St. Louis. The Rams won 33-10 . (AP Photo/Tom Gannam ….
(9) ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 13: Mardy Gilyard (81) of the St. Louis Rams looks for room to run on a punt return against the Indianapolis Colts during the NFL preseason game at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Colts 33-10. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ….
(10) ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 13: St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo talks to quarterback Sam Bradford (8) during the first half of the NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……..
NFL Standings preseason 2011 by division
NFL Standings preseason 2011 by conference
Steve Spagnuolo head coach
St Louis Rams’ regular season schedule
Jim Harbaugh head coach
If at all interested do take time to participate in the poll shown .