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Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Verdicts on Arizona, LA Rams, San Francisco and Seattle

LA Rams should be a real force this season

The Rams won the NFC West last year
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Arizona Cardinals

2017 8-8 Coach Steve Wilks
QB Sam Bradford RB David Johnson
Major Ins QB Sam Bradford, OT Justin Pugh
Major Outs LB Kareem Martin, S Tyrann Mathieu
Top draft picks QB Josh Rosen (first round), WR Christian Kirk (second round)

Verdict
With coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer gone, this is a new era at Arizona and it could prove a struggle.

Sam Bradford, who has had a succession of injuries, is their new quarterback but rookie Josh Rosen is waiting in the wings.

Although star veteran Larry Fitzgerald is still on the roster, the other receiving options look thin on the ground.

Plenty of changes are expected on both sides of the ball and it would be no surprise if this proved to be a difficult first season for head coach Steve Wilks.


LA Rams

2017 11-5 Coach Sean McVay
QB Jared Goff RB Todd Gurley
Major Ins DT Ndamukong Suh, WR Brandin Cooks
Major Outs LB Robert Quinn, WR Sammy Watkins
Top draft picks OT Joe Noteboom (3), C Brian Allen (4)

Verdict
The Rams bounced back from a 4-12 season to win the NFC West last year and they look strong again, especially as money has been available to make some big moves in free agency while quarterback Jared Goff remains on his rookie contract.

Brandin Cooks joins an already a formidable receiving group and running back Todd Gurley can be sensational.

Defensive recruits Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh can make them even more impressive.

If they can all knit together, they should be a real force.


San Francisco 49ers

2017 6-10 Coach Kyle Shanahan
QB Jimmy Garoppolo RB Alfred Morris
Major Ins RB Jerick McKinnon, CB Richard Sherman
Major Outs C Daniel Kilgore, RB Carlos Hyde
Top draft picks OT Mike McGlinchey (1), WR Dante Pettis (2)

Verdict
The 49ers were 1-10 before quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo arrived from New England but they won their final five games of the season, scoring an average of 28.8 points per game in that run.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan was a great offensive co-ordinator at Atlanta and he could bring more out Tom Brady's former back-up with a full pre-season behind him.

They have made defensive improvements too and the signing of former Seahawk Richard Sherman is eye-catching.

They have made several high defensive draft picks in the last few years and if those players can push on, there's no reason why San Francisco cannot have a good campaign.


Seattle Seahawks

2017 9-7 Coach Pete Carroll
QB Russell Wilson RB Chris Carson
Major Ins OT DJ Fluker, WR Jaron Brown
Major Outs CB Richard Sherman, DE Michael Bennett
Top draft picks RB Rashaad Penny (1), DE Rasheem Green (3)

Verdict
Quarterback Russell Wilson is the star of the Seahawks show and it looks as if there is going to be even more weight on his shoulders in the new season.

This looks to be a season where Seattle take stock and go through a degree of transition. Receiver Doug Baldwin is set to be the main target but the famed defensive Legion of Boom is now a thing of the past and the Seahawks need to hail a new era.

That all looks a lot to take in and Pete Carroll will have plenty on his plate if his team are to challenge in a tough division.


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The 49ers were 1-10 before quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo arrived from New England but they won their final five games of the season
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