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Thread: Seahawks could catch Rams
Seahawks could catch Rams
By ALLEN WILSON
News Sports Reporter
This is the last of eight stories examining NFL teams by division as they prepare for training camp. Today's installment focuses on the NFC West.
It seems like every team in the NFC West is always chasing the St. Louis Rams. Except for 2002, when San Francisco finished first, the Rams have won or shared the division title four of the last five years. Mike Martz's high-octane offense returns intact, and if the defense can overcome the departure of coordinator Lovie Smith, the Rams will lead the pack again.
The Seattle Seahawks are in the best position to catch the Rams. That will happen only if the new defensive additions improve a below-average unit.
It might be a long season for the *****, who must replace nine veteran starters.
The Arizona Cardinals hope new coach Dennis Green works the same magic he did in Minnesota. However, Cardinals fans shouldn't expect too much too soon.
St. Louis Rams (12-4)
Key gains: RB Steven Jackson (draft), QB Chris Chandler (Bears).
Key losses: DT Brian Young (Saints), DE Grant Wistrom (Seahawks), FS Kim Herring (Bengals).
Breakdown: QB Marc Bulger's new contract signals the end of Kurt Warner, who will be released in June. Chandler will be Bulger's backup. Jackson (Oregon State), the best running back in the draft, has all the tools to be Marshall Faulk's eventual successor. The defensive line has major concerns. Two starters (Wistrom and Young) are gone, and the Rams might lose a third if DE Leonard Little's second drunk driving arrest leads to a one-year suspension from the NFL as a repeat offender under the league's substance abuse policy.
Questions: Will Bulger justify Martz's faith in him? Will Faulk be happy sharing carries with Jackson? Who will rush the quarterback if Little is suspended?
Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
Key gains: Wistrom, CB Bobby Taylor (Eagles), DT Marcus Tubbs (draft), LB/S Michael Boulware (draft).
Key losses: CB Shawn Springs (Redskins), LB Randall Godfrey (Chargers), DT Norman Hand (Giants).
Breakdown: The Seahawks hope Taylor's experience will help improve the 27th-ranked pass defense. The defensive line needed immediate help, particularly at tackle. Tubbs (Texas) has the size and inside pass-rushing skills to be an every-down player. Wistrom is a proven veteran who plays defensive end with a relentless style. Boulware, an athletic linebacker from Florida State, has a chance to replace Reggie Tongue (Jets) at strong safety. Coach Mike Holmgren didn't think his offense needed much help, but lineman Sean Locklear (N.C. State) should offer depth.
Questions: Did the Seahawks get enough defensive help? Can Holmgren get the team into the playoffs again?
San Francisco ***** (7-9)
Key gains: WR Rashaun Woods (draft), DE Brandon Whiting (Eagles).
Key losses: QB Jeff Garcia (Browns), RB Garrison Hearst (Broncos), WR Terrell Owens (Eagles), WR Tai Streets (Lions), OT Derrick Deese (Bucs), G Ron Stone (Raiders), CB Jason Webster (Falcons).
Breakdown: The ***** weren't looking for a veteran quarterback to replace Garcia, but they are rethinking that position with projected starter Tim Rattay out for nearly four months with a severely torn groin muscle. Woods (Oklahoma State) has great ability, but don't expect him to fill Owens' shoes overnight. Veteran WR Curtis Conway (Jets) might help. With Hearst gone, Kevan Barlow becomes the featured back. The offensive line lost experience in Deese and Stone. Second-round G Justin Smiley (Alabama) may have to start. CB Shawntae Spencer (Pittsburgh) might have to replace Webster. Questions: Will Rattay be healthy by the regular season? If not, is second-year QB Ken Dorsey really the answer? Will Barlow blossom as an every-down running back? Will possible contract holdout by All-Pro LB Julian Peterson be a distraction?
Arizona Cardinals (4-12)
Key gains: Coach Dennis Green, WR Larry Fitzgerald (draft), DE Bert Berry (Broncos), CB David Macklin (Colts).
Key losses: QB Jeff Blake (Eagles), CB David Barrett (Jets).
Breakdown: Green loves offense and has the makings of a terrific passing game. Fitzgerald has the game-breaking ability to complement 2003 Offensive Rookie of the Year Anquan Boldin at receiver. Green is committed to QB Josh McCown as the starter, but Shaun King (Bucs) provides veteran insurance. Alex Stepanovich (Ohio State) might step in at starting right guard. Berry, OLB Karlos Dansby (Auburn) and DT Darnell Dockett (Florida State) should help anemic pass rush (21 sacks last year).
Questions: Will McCown get it done at QB? Will Fitzgerald live up to the hype? What will Boldin do for an encore? Can the defense stop anybody?
Re: Seahawks could catch RamsSeahawks could catch Rams
But it aint gonna happen!!
-05-30-2004 #3general counsel Guest
Re: Seahawks could catch Rams
If we stay healthy, we are the better team and we will finish ahead of seattle again. Injuries are the great equalizer in the nfl and a lot of that is just luck.
Re: Seahawks could catch RamsOriginally Posted by RamDezClanRam ModCast: Episode Two
Rams Discussion Right at Your Fingertips!
Re: Seahawks could catch RamsOriginally Posted by NickSeiler
-05-30-2004 #6general counsel Guest
Re: Seahawks could catch Rams
Losing herring should have about the same impact as losing jamie duncan- None whatsoever, unless you count addition by subtraction by virtue of clearing out some cap.
ramming speed to all
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