NFC West Power Structure

The San Francisco 49ers had a good draft filling holes that upgraded the offense and defense.  But what about the rest of the NFC West?  Did any team do anything for this upcoming season to change the dynamics of the power structure in the division? Let’s take a team by team look:

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals have reined atop of the NFC West the last two years however that was with Kurt Warner under center.  With Warner retired and Matt Leinart now the starting quarterback the offensive side of the football has been downgraded.  Throw-in the trade of WR Anquan Boldin the Cardinals do not look as strong as recent years.  With their first pick in the draft the Cardinals went with defensive lineman Dan Williams who will be a great D-lineman and most likely torment the Niners for years.  Even with the pick the Cardinals lost DB Antrel Rolle and LB Karlos Dansby to free agency which weakened the D but made up for it somewhat by trading for DB Kerry Rhodes.  Overall the Cardinals did not do enough to make up for the lost of some key players and with Leinart unproven and entering his first season as the full-time starter the Cardinals are not the favorites going into the season.

Seattle Seahawks

New head coach Pete Carroll had a great first-round in the NFL draft.  They did have the sixth and fourteenth picks in the draft so you really can’t go wrong with any player drafted unless you are the Oakland Raiders.  The Seahawks drafted the best offensive tackle in the draft, Russell Okung, and selected the best safety Earl Thomas.  A trade for RB LenDale White also helps with the offense but the Seahawks still have Matt Hasselbeck as their quarterback who has the skills to win games and lead his team to the division title but his body is aging, he is 34, and has been unable to hold up through a full season the last two seasons missing 9 games to injuries.

St. Louis Rams

The Rams were the most talked about team during the draft because they had the number one pick.  Some say that is a blessing, some say it is not especially when you need a quarterback. However even with the selection of QB Sam Bradford the Rams will not be contending anytime soon.  They did well in the second round by selecting offensive tackle Rodger Saffold but he and Bradford are not going to turn the Rams into winners next season.  Unless your name is Steven Jackson there is not much to be excited about on the team.  Bradford will most likely start at the beginning of the season because the options for the Rams at quarterback are short and will most likely be handing off to Jackson on a majority of plays.

NFC West power structure:

  1. San Francisco 49ers: Not being a homer here but the 49ers are currently the team most equip to win the division.   They have an on-the-rise defense that pound the opponents offense and an upgraded offensive line to protect QB Alex Smith and RB Frank Gore.  The key for the 49ers is Smith and how well he plays.  He is surround by talent so there are no excuses this season.
  2. Seattle Seahawks: The potential is there for the Seahawks and they know how to win the division.  They do however have Pete Carroll in his first year as the Seahawks coach but that may not be a bad thing for the team.  The passion he brings might translate onto the field with the players.  The key to the Seahawks winning the division is Hasselbeck’s health.  If Hasselbeck goes down during the season so will the Seahawks in the NFC West.
  3. Arizona Cardinals: Too many key players from the last two seasons are now gone who helped the Cardinals win two straight division titles.  The 49ers do not fear the Cardinals beating them twice last season and with Leinart as your quarterback the chances of winning the division are not great.
  4. St. Louis Rams: The Rams are still the Lams even with Bradford.  Bradford will not develop overnight which basically means the Rams have the same looking team as last year that finished 1-15.

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Tags: 2010 NFC West Power Structure 2010 NFL Draft 2010 2010 NFL Draft: With The 13th And 17th Picks The 49ers Select… 49ers 2010 Off-season 49ers 49ers 2009 Season 49ers 2009 Training Camp 49ers Injuries 49ers New Stadium 49ers Offensive Coordinator 49ers Preseason 49ers QB 49ers Quarterback 49ers Training Camp 2009 Free Agency Adam Snyde 49ers Draft Recap 49ers Select Safety Taylor Mays With 49th Pick Of 2nd Round Alex Smith Anquan Boldin Anthony Davis Anthony Dixon Breaking News: 49ers Select Lineman Mike Iupati With 17th Pick Dan Williams Earl Thomas Frank Gore Kerry Rhodes Kurt Warner Kyle Williams LenDale White Matt Hasselbeck Matt Leinart Mike Iupati Mike Singletary Mike Solari Nate Byham Navorro Bowman NFL Draft 2010 Pete Carroll Phillip Adams Rodger Saffold Ronnie Lott Russell Okung Sam Bradford San Francisco 49ers Steven Jackson Taylor Mays Trent Baalke

  • kevin

    You’re just kidding right? The Rams have a ‘terrible’ offensive line? It might be average at worst.

  • RamsMan72

    When you make the comment that the “Lambs” are still a 1-15 team I felt compelled to jump in. As a lifelong Rams fan, I’ve seen some really good Rams teams, and some of the worst there have ever been – the last 3 years have been as bad as it gets.

    However, what I did see last year were signs that the Rams were starting to turn things around. They have a young, strong offensive line that got better with the draft, they have a great MLB for years to come, and despite the stats, their defense is better than the #’s tell. When you’re on the field as much as the defensive unit was last year, you’re going to wear down and give up some points.

    Which brings us to the offense. I’ve already commented on the O-Line – anchored by Jason Smith LT, Jason Brown C, Saffold at RT, Jacob Bell at LG and some strong contenders for RG, and you have the makings of a unit that will grow and strengthen for years to come (if they can curb the injuries). Match that with some power TE’s and some youth at WR in Gilyard, Avery and Robinson and all of the sudden things start looking different – Spags’ plan is taking shape. Now with Bradford under center, teams can’t stack the box against Stephen Jackson and look what happens – you open up the field and let him run, run, run.

    I still think the Rams have a way to go, but think there’s going to be some “experts” eating crow before the 2010 season is done.

    • Eric Melendez

      I like to talk trash on the Rams because the rivalry between the Niners and Rams is so heated and has a deep tradition. You are right the Rams will be better this year than last year and improve on their win totals. Sam Bradford will be a thorn in the 49ers side for years to come. I just hope Alex Smith will be our thorn in your side as well.

  • Dennis

    For not being a “Homer” you sure are a homer.

    • Eric Melendez

      Thanks Dennis! I do love the 49ers.

  • ReoHays

    Watch the Cards win the division again. I wanted the Cards to get rid of Warner last year and use the money to secure Dansby. He was our ONLY big lose this off season. The next was MacFadden, but being we sent him packing, Whiz must have somthing in mind for Toler. Boldin was going and we should have traded him last year for a #1 or #2. These were the mistakes the Cards made and no one mentions them. Now we are on the right track and look for the Cards to have 10 and 6 season and thats if we split with you and the Seahawks. 11 and 5 if we beat the Cowboys on Christmas.
    Laugh now!
    I want the NFC West to be the toughest division in football and I want our rivalry to mean somthing to the rest of the NFL, so get off of your avrage butts and start winning some more games!

    • Eric Melendez

      I love the rivalry between the Cardinals and 49ers. It seems to get better each year. The 49ers have been increasing their win totals since 2007 and hopefully can get over eight wins next season. If not the Cardinals will rein again.

  • Dave

    I really get tired of hearing all the 49er fans comment on how they are going to win the division every year. You dont have Montana, Young, Rathman, Lott, or Watters. You dont have a quarterback that will take you to a SuperBowl or even a NFC championship. The Cardinals are the team to beat. They are better then last year even with Leinart starting. Remember, he beat out Warner for the starting job and only lost it when he got hurt. Their offense will change from the past 2 years so dont be so confident you know how to stop them. In addition their defense is much stronger this year even with Dansby gone. You will eat your words again like the last 2 years. The power structure has changed but not the 49ers way

    • Eric Melendez

      I tell you what Dave at the end of the season if the Cardinals win the division I will eat my words and write a post about how wrong I was and profess my devotion to the Cardinals. I can only speak for myself and not “all the 49er fans” but this is the first-time this century that I thought the 49ers actually had a chance at winning the division.

      • Dave

        I appreciate your honesty Eric. As a lifelong Cardinal fan of(44 years)-we have not had a lot of hope or something to cheer about. We finally put together a good team with some good coaches and draft picks and get the results we have been waiting for. However the lack of respect still haunts the cardinals franchise regardless of the past 2 years performance. Each and every year the so called professionals pick the 49ers to win. As a huge Notre Dame fan there was no bigger supporter of Joe Montana. I wanted to see him win the super bowl every year OR get traded to the cardinals. In any event I hope it is a great season and comes down to the wire the last week of the season when the Cards and 49ers play. But you cannot be serious that pete carrol in his first year will have better record then the cardinals. I will eat my words if that happens.