NFC West Thursday Blitz
- Updated: August 15, 2013
I’ve spent the past few weeks visiting training camps around the league, and one team has stuck out as having the best chance to surprise some folks: the Arizona Cardinals. While the Cardinals are known to have some talent, they’re also fresh off a campaign in which they lost 11 of their last 12 games. Many will ultimately dismiss them as also-rans in what promises to be a highly competitive NFC West. I wouldn’t be so quick to do so, however, as the Cardinals of 2013 bear a striking resemblance to another NFC West squad that showed promise before last season: the St. Louis Rams. The Cardinals have added a lot of pieces to remain competitive going into 2013. Some of the players signed one-year contracts to prove their worth and will either be extended by the Cardinals or move on to another team next year. With this in mind, here are a couple of positions the Cardinals can upgrade through free agency and the draft in 2014. http://raisingzona.com/2013/08/14/which-positions-should-the-cardinals-upgrade-in-2014/. Let’s wait for the 2013 season to play out before listing proposed additions.
Alex Smith’s relationship with the San Francisco 49ers and their fans has been rocky, to say the least. Widely considered a draft bust after being selected No. 1 overall in 2005 and vastly underperforming for six seasons, Smith turned things around in 2011 when he led the 49ers to the playoffs, then backed it up with another superb campaign in 2012, which ended abruptly after an injury and Colin Kaepernick happened. But many people remember the old days, when Smith was horrific and 49er fans wanted David Carr to play quarterback. I’m starting to think the NFL might need to hand out stiffer penalties for players who violate the rules because the NFL has handed down yet another suspension, this time to San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman (and failed tight end project) Demarcus Dobbs. Thankfully for Dobbs and the 49ers, the suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy will only last one game after he was busted for DUI and marijuana possession last November. Regardless of player or team, this is a regular occurrence in the NFL.
Since the turn of the 2013 calendar year, there have been 18 total NFL players suspended under the league’s drug abuse and performance enhancing drug policies. One-third of that total is in just one division, and one team in that division holds half of them. The St. Louis Rams lost Jo-Lonn Dunbar for four games after officially being suspended on Wednesday. That pits the team being guilty of three players using PEDs or having substance abuse under their watch.
The Seattle Seahawks and Broncos both failed to nab the top spot in the power rankings mostly because of health issues, which is unfortunate. When you lose a player of Percy Harvin‘s caliber, it’s going to affect the standings. Irrespective of how fans feel about Bruce Irvin‘s upside, this club must get defensive end Chris Clemons back. The tricky deal is that Clemons wants to return … like, now. Seahawks defensive lineman Tony McDaniel was hoping to earn a starting job during training camp, but a groin injury seems to be hurting his chances. He is unlikely to play in the team’s second preseason game Saturday against the Broncos as a result of the injury. “We have not seen enough to know where he fits in,” Head Coach Pete Carroll told the Everett Herald Wednesday. “He has a chance to be one of the lead candidates for the three technique spot, but we don’t know anything about it right now, we’ve seen just limited play.”