2014 DRAFT GUIDE
NFC West

2012-07-10 12:36:08
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
RealTime Fantasy Sports

Kevin Kolb hopes to start

Rams

The Rams were decimated by injury and poor play last season. St. Louis hopes to put last year's fiasco behind them. New head coach Jeff Fisher is the big addition for the Rams, bringing a new mentality to the team. Fisher has a lot of work to do to get this squad back on the right track but some new additions and getting guys back healthy should help. Fisher gets to see his new team starting July 29 at the Russell Training Center in Earth City, Mo.

Position battle: St. Louis is another team that revamped the receiver position but much is still to be decided when it comes to starters. Danny Amendola will man the slot but the two starting spots are wide open. Rookies Brian Quick and Chris Givens might be the best bets to start but will need to prove they are ready. Others that have a legit shot to start are Greg Salas, Steve Smith and Danario Alexander.

Injury watch: Sam Bradford had an ankle injury that hampered him much of last season. He is healthy but did say that his ankle wasn't 100 percent during offseason workouts. He is about full strength now, though, which is a positive, but it is a bit alarming that he was still hurting a little during the offseason.

Cardinals

Despite inconsistent quarterback play, the Cardinals didn't have a terrible year last season. If the quarterback spot can play at a higher level this year, the Cardinals could challenge for a playoff spot. They have some nice talent on both side of the ball and play in a weak division. The Cardinals quest for a return to the playoffs starts July 25 at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Position battle: Kevin Kolb was supposed to be the answer at quarterback for the Cardinals last season but didn't exactly light it up. And when out hurt, backup John Skelton might have played better than Kolb, which is why the two are competing for the right to start this season. Kolb probably is the more talented of the two and has the big contract so he'll be given first crack at the job but the Cardinals aren't going to just hand it to him. He'll have to play better than Skelton.

Injury watch: Ryan Williams missed all of his rookie season because of surgery to repair a torn patella tendon in addition to meniscus damage. He has a long road back from the injuries but could be ready for the start of training camp. As long as he doesn't have a setback, Williams should be healthy enough to play Week 1. But like some others returning from injury, it might take a bit for Williams to round into form. He could start slow early in the year.

49ers

San Francisco was a bit of a surprise last season but that won't be the case this year. Expectations are high for this squad in 2012. The 49ers boost one of the top defenses in the league and an improving offense. The big area to watch in camp will be at receiver for the 49ers. San Francisco has a lot of new talent at receiver, fighting for playing time. If the passing game can get better, the offense could take a big step forward. The 49ers start camp July 23 at the 49ers Training Facility in Santa Clara, Calif.

Position battle: The 49ers revamped their receiving corps, which means there will be plenty of competition for playing time. Michael Crabtree probably is the most likely to start for the 49ers abut after him, you have Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and rookie A.J. Jenkins vying for the other starting spot. You never know what you will get with Moss at this point of his career but early reports are favorable for him. Manningham was great as a No. 3 the last few seasons with the Giants but might be an even better fit for a starting job. And Jenkins is the future at the position but could be given a little time to learn the position.

Injury watch: Frank Gore isn't returning from a major injury but is a back with an injury history that missed some time last year. He is getting up there in age and has a decent amount of work under his belt for his career. The 49ers could cut back his workload some this year to keep him healthy and fresh.

Seahawks

The Seahawks didn't make a big splash this offseason in hopes of improving but added Matt Flynn at quarterback, creating quite the competition for the coming season. The quarterback spot will be the talk of camp as the Seahawks try to find their starter. Flynn gets his chance to show his stuff starting July 28 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash.

Position battle: The Seahawks nabbed Matt Flynn during the offseason, getting another option at quarterback for the coming season. Seattle also used a draft pick on Russell Wilson, who might be the long-term option for the team at the position. Tarvaris Jackson was the starter last season and didn't do too badly in a starting role. Flynn has the most upside of the group, but will need to prove he is ready to take over a starting role. But at this point, you would have to think Flynn is the favorite to start.

Injury watch: Sidney Rice had surgery on both his shoulders during the offseason. Neither surgery was too big of a deal but he has chronic shoulder issues of late, which is somewhat of a concern. He is expected to be ready for camp but the Seahawks could take it easy with him to make sure he is healthy for the start of the year.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Jeff Paur at jeff@rtsports.com

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