2013 NFC West Preview & Proper Blame for Aaron Hernandez – NFL FootballTuesday, July 30, 2013 22:08
2013 NFC West Preview & why one shouldn’t blame owners/others for Aaron Hernandez or any other NFL players’ crimes.
THE NFL CRANKS IT UP!!!
Nobody despises the New England Patriots like I do, but, c’mon, there are people who are criticizing Bob Kraft because, odds are, Aaron Hernandez is very likely to spend his remaining life in a numbered, stenciled jump suit as a convicted murderer.
Kraft is not above criticism—after New England’s three Super Bowl wins, he gave his coach the keys to every door in the kingdom and Bill Belichick responded by thinking his and the “Patriot’s Way” would make players of questionable character, backgrounds, and tendencies suddenly respect authority, rules and social norms.
Sort of like the hot chick who thinks she can turn a sociopathic, sex-addict musician into a faithful boyfriend.
We all know how well that works out…But, let’s keep it real…
No Steeler haters blamed the Rooneys when rookie nose tackle Alameda T’amu got plastered, rammed police cars, and nearly killed two people and himself…
As much as it is right and just and eternal fun to mock Jerry Jones, can we blame this on his Cowboys??
People don’t realize, in the regions NFL teams call home, their fans love their teams as much as you love yours. And, if I had the time or inclination, I could find just as recent and disturbing links for players’ transgressions involving all 32 NFL teams.
The Pats deserve every bad word they get for cheating the game, but Kraft deserves credit for resurrecting a down-trodden brand and doing wonderful charity work in New England. And, even given Belichick’s “hot-chick mindset,” the Patriots players follow Kraft’s example in their community.
If you’re gonna hate, hate in context.
Division Record: 34 – 28 – 2
This year, we will analyze every team/division as per our custom and juxtapose this year’s soothsaying with snippets of last year’s predictions–in bold—-on every team.
Get ready for some belly laughs…
All of a sudden the NFC West is the consensus pick for the NFL’s “best” division. Given the 49ers seem to be built for the long haul and the Seahawks seem to be built to match their rival, maybe that ambiguous description is deserved.
But the Rams had the best record in the division at 4-1-1 and the Cardinals have the suddenly hot Bruce Arians as coach, who can certainly do for a fading Carson Palmer what he did for a young Ben Roethlisberger.
For the two frontrunners, the question is, can their two young quarterbacks avoid the sophomore jinx? Will the Ram’s realize Sam Bradford’s promise? Can the Desert Birds start all over—yet again?
2012 Record: 5 – 11
It was a hit and miss when it came to predicting Arizona’s 2012 campaign:
So far the Kevin Kolb experiment has turned him into a quarterback Frankenstein—monstrously bad. John Skelton has the bigger arm and Notre Dame wide receiver, Michael Floyd, will make defenses think twice about doubling Larry Fitzgerald.
The revamped offensive line will help Beanie Wells and 2011 2nd round RB, Ryan Williams, making the Red Birds the most balanced team in a notoriously weak division.
Major Story: The Cardinal defense finishes among the league’s top three
Predicted Finish: 10 – 6 Division Champs
I really blew it with the division champ thing but the Cardinal defense ranked 5th in the league.
I’m betting the December 14th, 2013 massacre—a 58-0 mutilation in Seattle—cemented the Bidwells decision to fire Ken Whisenhunt and hire Bruce Arians—and that explains why Arizona’s one trip to the Super Bowl, under Whisenhunt, will be their last in a long time.
Teams constantly slogging through one QB controversy after another simply cannot win on a consistent basis. Why fire Whisenhunt because management didn’t go after Palmer a couple years ago?
The Texans stuck with Gary Kubiak when the chorus was crying for his head.
Just like the Lions kept Jim Schwartz when his team regressed last year.
Yeah, I know, they have legit quarterbacks…
The Cardinals have some real talent, but now, they must learn a new system all over again. It doesn’t matter if the draft might help a terrible offensive line or included high quality players on defense like ILB Alan Minter or OLB , Alex Okafor—the core of the team must start from scratch learning a new system. Which means, they start way behind their division rivals and most of the NFC.
Predicted finish: 5 – 11
Major Story: Palmer makes some noise, but nobody is listening…
ST. LOUIS RAMS
2012 Record: 7 – 8 – 1
Actually I was pretty accurate in assessing the Ram’s fate last year:
Sam Bradford—2010 Offensive ROY—is being robbed of what should be a great career. The hiring of Gregg Williams, overusing Jackson, Bradford’s waning confidence. This could be a worse team than last year.
Okay, the Big Horns won a few more games in ‘12, but they did suffer the transition malaise teams sometimes experience as they change systems.
Jeff Fisher made up for it on draft day…WRs Tavon Austin, (4.3 40), his WVU teammate, Stedman Baily, ILB, Alex Ogletree—those three alone make the Rams much more potent on both sides of the ball—but Barret Jones won the Rimington award for best center and free safety TJ Mc Donald will also contribute.
These are not your ordinary mountain goats and they can butt heads with anyone, but it might be another year or two before they can topple their superior rivals.
Major Story: The Rams perfect their blueprint on how to stop the read-option and win four divisional games—but fall short in too many others…
Predicted Finish: 9-7
2012 Record: 11 – 5
Boy, I really blasted Pete Carroll for drafting physical freak Bruce Irvin above a number of quality players:
You mean, Bruce frigging Irvin of WVU?
Pitt offensive linemen threw this guy around. Don’t get me wrong, on paper, Irvin is a gifted athlete and might one day wreak havoc in NFL backfields, but when your line-backing corps screams for help and you pass on Donta Hightower, prepare for major ridicule. When your offensive line stinks and you pass on David Decastro, don‘t be surprised when every hack with a keyboard mocks your talent evaluation acumen and predicts you won’t win six games…Major Story: Pete Carroll replaced by Tom Cable after Week 11 bye…Predicted Finish: 4 – 12
That’s why they pay me the big bucks, folks.
So, let’s give Pete Carrol his due, those gambles and “reaches” he’s taken on Draft weekend are paying off in spades. The Seahawks are locked and loaded for a deep playoff run—providing Russell Wilson thumbs his nose at the sophomore jinx.
Major Story: The Seahawk’s defense dominates…Bruce Irvin sets sack record…
Predicted Finish 11-5
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
2012 Record: 12 – 4 – 1 Division Champs
Last year we insisted we weren’t ready to slurp the Harbaugh Kool-Aid—this year, we’re ready to take a bath in the stuff.
The Niners ’13 draft only made an excellent team better, DE Tank Carradine was a 2nd round steal and TE Vance McDonald was another quality pick 15 slots later. But the sleeper a year, maybe two, down the road might just be Marcus Lattimore, a royal-blue chip running back who suffered an ugly knee injury during a routine play at South Carolina. If San Fran’s calculated gamble pays off as hoped, the Niners could be set for a long run in a division and conference brimming with quality teams.
Major story: Kaepernick injures knee mid-season—Colt McCoy takes the field.
Predicted Finish: 12 – 4 Division Champs
NFC WEST SUMMARY
Seahawks and 49ers fans shouldn’t get cocky…NFL defensive coordinators have spent the last six months boning up on the read-option offense. And I don’t care if Colin Kaepernik is built like a linebacker or Russel Wilson is as slippery as a well-oiled seal.
They keep running in the open NFL field, they will eventually pay the price.
There is a reason the option system has never worked in the NFL—once the defensive end makes the QB make a second read, a lot of very bad things can happen. Also, the scheme is system intensive and requires extraordinary coordination on every snap to be effective. A key injury can derail a read option team more than one with a conventional offense.
Another chink in the RO armor might result from the new tackling rules for defenders. Consciously or not, tacklers will be aiming lower and lower. We’ll see how Kaepernick and RG III react when their knees—oh wait.. we will find out this year in Washington, won’t we?
If you want an excellent breakdown of the RO offense and what the defense must do to stop it, try this: http://mmqb.si.com/2013/07/26/derek-mason-stanford-read-option/
Scroll halfway down for the Derek Mason video.
NEXT UP: THE NFC SOUTH
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