October 4, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins (21) celebrates a defensive play against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

NFC West Power Rankings: Full Offensive And Defensive Recap


 

Over the last week, Ramblin’ Fan has gone through and “power” ranked nearly every position or unit on the offensive and defensive side of the football. All in all, there appear to be three teams that should via for a top spot in the NFC, which will make the NFC West one of the toughest, if not the toughest division in the NFL this season. For those who have missed the series, or are too lazy to go back and read through five or six different articles, here is the breakdown and a link to each ranking:

 

Quarterbacks, NFC West Power Rankings: Breaking Down The Quarterbacks

1. Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson

2. St. Louis Rams, Sam Bradford

3. San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick

4. Arizona Cardinals, Carson Palmer

 

Running Backs, NFC West Power Rankings: Lining Up The Skill Positions

1. Seattle Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch & Christine Michael

2. San Francisco 49ers, Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, & LaMichael James

3. St. Louis Rams, Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead, & Zac Stacy

4. Arizona Cardinals, Rashard Mendenhall

 

Wide Receivers

1. San Francisco 49ers

2. Arizona Cardinals

3. St. Louis Rams

4. Seattle Seahawks

 

Tight Ends, NFC West Power Rankings: How Do The Tight Ends Stack Up?

1. St. Louis Rams, Jared Cook & Lance Kendricks

2. San Francisco 49ers, Vernon Davis & Vance McDonald

3. Seattle Seahawks, Zach Miller

4. Arizona Cardinals, Rob Housler & Jeff King

 

Defensive Line, NFC West Power Rankings: Battle For The Top Defensive Line

1. St. Louis Rams

2. Seattle Seahawks

3. Arizona Cardinals

4. San Francisco 49ers

 

Linebackers, NFC West Power Rankings: Best Of The Best Linebacker Corps

1. San Francisco 49ers

2. St. Louis Rams

3. Seattle Seahawks

4. Arizona Cardinals

 

Secondary, NFC West Power Rankings: Best Of The Defensive Backfields

1. Seattle Seahawks

2. St. Louis Rams

3. San Francisco 49ers

4. Arizona Cardinals

 

Preseason rankings are difficult, for a number of reasons. At this point last season the Seattle Seahawks would have been ranked dead last in the division, with the reasonable assumption that Matt Flynn would be the starter come Week 1. St. Louis had one of the worst secondaries in the league at the end of 2011, but completely overhauled the roster when Jeff Fisher took over, adding players like Cortland Finnegan through free agency and Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson through the draft. Bruce Irvin was marked as the “worst pick” of the 1st round of the 2012 NFL Draft, with analysts lambasting the ‘Hawks for selecting him too high… look how that turned out.

The point is, no one know how rosters will shake out when the actual season begins. Alec Ogletree could be the next Derrick Brooks… or he could be the next Aaron Curry. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick could have “sophomore” slumps as starters… or they could become Top 10 quarterbacks. The additions of Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, and Stedman Bailey in St. Louis could bring back memories of the Greatest Show on Turf… or the offense could remain as stagnant as it has been for the last decade. Only time will tell…

Stay tuned at Ramblin’ Fan for all of your St. Louis Rams and NFC West news. We will undoubtedly roll out more Power Rankings as the season rolls on, and we know you do not want to miss that!

Tags: Arizona Cardinals Featured Popular San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks St. Louis Rams

  • bluenotebacker

    I’m thinking this looks to have more than a little hometown bias built in, but I like it! ;) I’m very excited to see how the Rams shape up through camp and into the new season.

    • Nathan Kearns

      As one ‘Hawks fan pointed out in the comment section of the “Defensive Backs” section, the rankings can seem a bit “off” since you cannot show the gaps between the teams within the rankings.

      For example, the Seahawks have the best secondary in the NFC West and the Rams are second… However, the Seahawks secondary is likely Top 3 in the NFL, and the Rams is Top 15, maybe Top 10. Same thing with the linebackers. San Francisco’s unit is Top 3 in the NFL, St. Louis’ is a fringe Top 10 unit… but, they go first and second in the NFC West rankings.

      Rams are ranked pretty low in all of the offensive categories, aside from tight end…

      So, maybe a littttttttle St. Louis bias, but haven’t had too much disagreement, outside of the occasional ’9er fan beating his drum about Colin Kaepernick

  • picklejuice

    This is definitely written by a Ram fan. I would drop the Rams ranking in 4 or 5 of the 6 listings down one spot. Your aggregate rankings would rank the division as a virtual 3 way tie for first:

    #1 Rams: 2.3
    #2 Seattle: 2.5
    #3 49ers: 2.7
    #4 Cardinals: 4.2

    If you adjust the Rams more realistically, then the aggregate becomes more true to life with Seattle and SF in a close 1-2. The rams in 3rd, but not quite there yet, and the cards stinking up the basement.

    #1 Seattle: 2.0
    #2 49ers: 2.3
    #3 Rams: 3.0
    #4 Cardinals: 4.2

    I would also add in Offensive line to the mix and Special Teams.

    • Nathan Kearns

      I’ll copy and paste a comment from a conversation I had with another fan. Here you go:

      “The problem with rankings is there is no way of gauge the distance between a team ranked 1st and a team ranked 2nd. The ‘Hawks secondary is a Top 3 unit and the Rams’ secondary is likely fringe Top 10; however, they appear No.1 and No. 2 on the list, as if one barely beats out the other. With linebackers, the 49ers are a Top 3 unit, and there likely isn’t another Top 10 corps in the division; however, the other teams will appear to be much closer on a 1-through-4 ranking.

      I agree with the premise of ranking them 1-4 in total defense, but with so many question marks and roster changes, it would be nearly impossible to objectively measure them as a whole… I mean, where would you even start the comparison?

      My personal ranking for overall defense? 1) 49ers, 2) Seahawks, 3) Rams, 4) Cardinals. However, just “averaging” my rankings, it would appear that I think the Rams are the best in the division. Therein lies the trouble with Power Rankings as a whole! Doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to do though”

      I would be curious where exactly you would “change” the rankings though (after reading the actual arguement on the article, not just eyeballing the rankings). The Rams were only ranked 1st in two areas, tight ends and defensive line; and, while you can argue all you want about the ‘Hawks free agents, the Rams are returning their entire defensive line rotation that vastly “outsacked” any DL in the NFL last season.

      Offensive line is too subjective to rate, especially with all of the moving pieces. It would probably go SF, SEA, STL, ARZ. However, there is no telling how each will play or fit together. Special teams are the same way, there is no clear indication of who will be returning kicks for most teams, and some teams do not even have a depth chart set for kicker.Last season, Zuerlein was the best kicker in the division, Andy Lee was the best punter, and Leon Washington was top in kick return. To be honest, STL was the only team with consistency at P and K, so I guess they would get the Top spot, but there are a lot of moving pieces.

      • picklejuice

        RB and WR (since there is no reasoning for the order) are the ones I would likely leave alone. All the others I would drop the Rams one slot. Just as, I’m sure a Seahawks fan would bump their team up in almost every category and a 49ers fan would bump their team up in every category, I think you have bumped the Rams up a little higher than is realistic. But, hey that is what being a fan in the offseason is all about. :D
        The other problem I have with a lot of these rankings is that I’ve seen a lot of people rank players based on fantasy football points they earn, and not how good a football player they are. If a QB has no running game at all, then they are going to have a lot more passing yards and TDs, but that doesn’t necessarily make them the better QB. Passing for 5000 yards in a season isn’t nearly as impressive if you threw the ball 1000 times in the season vs a QB that threw for only 250 times. I’d rather have a QB that was 80% accurate and only threw for 2500 yards, than a QB that was 40% accurate, but threw for 4000 yards. It is hard to compare TEs if one team constantly uses a 4 receiver set, and another can’t keep their QB safe for more than 2 seconds, so he is constantly having to dump off to the TE.

        • Nathan Kearns

          Agreed, most fans would put their team higher if necessary, but, for the most part, the Rams are not ranked that highly. QB is a matter of opinion, and whether or not you take half of a season of play on a dominate roster with a grain of salt (lookin’ at you Kaep).

          Got Rams 2,3,3,1 on offense, and there is not much of an argument against the Rams for the top spot at TE. Even the most diehard of 49ers fans cannot possibly believe that Vernon Davis alone is better than both Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks combined.

          On defense, like I said before, the Rams are returning the best defensive line in the NFL, that vastly out-performed any other DL unit in the league. The only team in the league that might be able to match St. Louis’ depth and production, specifically from their defensive line, is Carolina.

          With linebacker, Rams are second. If ‘Hawks fans want to tell me Bobby Wagner is better than James Laurinaitis, the only response they will get it a proper laugh in the face. Move to OLB and ‘Hawks have too many questions marks or unproven players. Yes, Alec Ogletree is “unproven” but he is also a Top 10 talent in the 2013 draft class, not Malcolm Smith, the 242th overall pick two years ago. And, when it boils down to it, Dunbar is a better SOLB than Wright, and there are plenty of figured to support that.

          Secondary, Rams are second. Donte Whitner was one of the worst safeties in the NFL last season, giving up the highest catch rate and most receiving touchdowns of any safety in the league. Dashon Goldson is gone, replaced by a non-cover safety in Eric Reid. And someone please give me a rationale argument how Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver, and Carlos Rogers were better than Janoris Jenkins, Cortland Finnegan, and Trumaine Johnson in 2012?

          Rams are high by default in a number of areas, especially on defense.

          These are definitely not based on fantasty points, Lord knows I will not be drafting any Rams until Round 5, at the earliest. Your last argument about QBs is a solid one. That is essentially my argument against Carson Palmer and his “success” last season.

          I also agree about tight end, which is one point I made to a salty 49ers fans. Jared Cook put up nearly identical receiving numbers as Vernon Davis, but was on the field for about half as many snaps. Same production, less time on the field. Same argument for Lance Kendricks, but in a different way. Kendricks played the same amount of snaps as Davis, put up the same production receiving, but is also the Rams’ No.1 FB on the roster. Same snaps, same production, more utility in the offense. To top that off, it is 2 players vs. 1 player…

          • Hawkman54

            So you don’t consider adding two of the top DE FA’s and two Highly touted draft DT to an already decent D line means anything HUH- Really ?

          • Nathan Kearns

            No, it means you added two top pass rushing defensive ends to an above average DE rotation. However, you lost Alan Branch and Jason Jones, and replaced them with Tony McDaniel?

          • Ben Peterson

            Jason Jones was a pass rushing DT who was injured for most of the season, Alan Branch wasn’t as good as people are making him out to be. McDaniel will be fine, and one of the rookies will likely step up if needed.

          • Nathan Kearns

            McDaniel was one of the worst in the league last season, and Branch was Top 20… but, I guess you can have whatever opinion you want. Doesn’t mean it is support, or that I will share it in my rankings

        • Hawkman54

          Great points!

      • Hawkman54

        What D gave up the least points? that is the measure of who helps the team win or not ! DUH !

        • Nathan Kearns

          …Never said anything about an entire defense, nor have I ever ranked the defenses as a whole, so…

    • Ron Grummer

      “I would also add in Offensive line to the mix and Special Teams.”
      Indeed!
      Especially if we are to use this as a pre-season benchmark against which to compare a mid-season re-evaluation/consideration.

      • Nathan Kearns

        Like I said in my reply to him, the offensive line would be nearly impossible to rank, at least right now, with so many moving parts on the offensive lines. Outside of San Francisco, no one can say with 100% certainty what their OL depth chart will look like on week one. Also, no telling how the lineman will fare within their new lines. Jake Long and Rodger Saffold are two of the better offensive tackles in the NFL, but who knows if we will be seeing the 4-time Pro Bowl Long, or the injured Long of late. How will Saffold handle the transition to the right side? Rams could have the No 2 unit, or they could have the No. 3 unit. Who is the ‘Hawks starting LG, or will Breno Giacomini actual progress this season? Is Jonathan Cooper the greatest G in the last 20 years, or is he another failed ARZ draftee? After SF at No. 1, the rest of the rankings are purely speculative…. and too subjective for ranking, IMHO.

        Same goes for Special Teams. Rams had the best kicker, 49ers had the best punter, and Seahawks, arguably, had the best returner. And even those are ranks are difficult because special teams is, more than any other unit, a product of another units success. If the offense is consistently getting touchdowns, then the kicker looks worse. If the team (i.e. Rams) are in desperation mode at the end and try 50-60+ yard field goals, that knocks the FG% down. If the offense is stagnant, than the punter has more field to get longer distance, and average more yards/punt. If the team has a solid defense and has the punt team backed into their endzone, the return man has a better shot at a longer return with the kicking team out of position. The Rams appear to be the only team with consistency at both the kicker and punt spot, so I guess I would give them No. 1. At the same time, most teams have absolutely no clue, right now, who will be returning kicks.

    • Hawkman54

      Great job !

  • Tony

    Thank you! I needed a good laugh.

    • Nathan Kearns

      Nice insight…

      • Tony

        Your right, the earlier post was lacking insight. The reason I laughed is because the completely bias article above. Especially looking at the QB rankings! I could see 1 & 2 as Kap/Wilson (or vice versa); however, I cannot fathom 1 & 2 as Wilson/Bradford. Apparently, QBR doesn’t mean anything anymore.

        • Nathan Kearns

          Playing half of a season on the most talented total roster in the NFL, when the team was already 6-2 without you doesn’t make you the top quarterback. Neither does winning only on divisional game. Can’t use one statistic for ranking players, you have to look at the whole picture. To be fair, quarterback is probably the most subjective of the position to rank, and we will have to see if Kaep can repeat as a “junior,” or would you call him a “sophomore”?

  • Ron Grummer

    As I stated back in 2004, I wish all our division well, the stronger and better they become, the more they drive us to do the same, and since that time, every team except the Rams have been to the Superbowl. Their turn is coming, my personal bias, however, hopes it isn’t for a couple more years yet.
    Good series, Thanks for the effort and discussion!
    Go ‘Hawks!

    • Nathan Kearns

      Thanks, I hope so too! Nice to have civil conversation with a divisional rival! Go Rams, and Go NFC West

  • Hawkman54

    WOW – No kidding with the hometown bias- Heath Farwell is not going be replacing Leroy Hill- it will be Malcolm Smith and Bruce Irvin in combo- How you have the Rams ahead of Seattle because of an unproven Draft pick is ludicrous!
    Also having Seattle behind the rams in WR’s is also just plain ignorant. If anything the Hawks should be in the number two slot at the absolute worst position – Grabbing a proven NFL player the likes of Harvin ( don’t spout injuries that is BS) is way more important than Draft choices that have yet to prove anything. They have a now healthy Rice ( all year) Baldwin and ever improving by leaps and bounds Tate. Then you add Harvin to the mix and their BIG Boldin type draft choice ( if your including them, me too) and away they go. The thing with the Hawks is they are a RUN first team , so that MUST be kept in mind.
    CRAZY !

    • Nathan Kearns

      Ok, if not Heath Farwell, who is current listed as the starter, than it will be Malcolm Smith, a 242th pick two years ago who has been a special teams jockie his entire career… big upgrade. I will take my chances on a Top 10 talent panning out over a 3rd year, 6th rounder that hasn’t made a dent in the roster. Bruce Irvin playing 4-3 OLB? PLEASE! He was one of the worst tackling defensive ends in the league last season, so moving him to a more tackle-centric position sounds like a perfect upgrade. Even K.J. Wright can’t beat out Jo-Lonn Dunbar in any area (pass rush, run stoppage, or coverage) , so I am not seeing much of an arguement for your side. Sorry about Aaron Curry, but most 1st-2nd round linebackers pan out in the NFC West…

      Percy Harvin played less than 50% of offensive snaps in 25 out of 67 games in his career, that is not “spouting BS,” those are actual numbers. He is a head-case that is far from “proven” in the NFL, outside of that he can make plays when he feels like it, which is less than 60% of the time. He did the same thing in college, not even playing in the SEC Champship with an injury. Sidney Rice has been mediocre, at best, since he left Minnesota, and Golden Tate will never be more than an athletic receiver, famous for a touchdown catch that didn’t actually happen. I am not going to recite the entire arguement about those two, when I already made the points in the actual skill positions argument.

      Get off that ‘Hawks crazy horse…

      • Ben Peterson

        ask the Bear’s defense about Golden Tate.

        • Nathan Kearns

          One performance doth not make a player! If so, Justin Blackmon would be a Top 10 wide receivr in the league…

          • Ben Peterson

            There was also the Falcons, and the Vikings (don’t just look at the yards look at the tape), your very own Rams, and the Bills, the Chicago game was just his best.

          • Nathan Kearns

            For some reason, I feel like you don’t have access the “tape” of the game, but maybe the game TiVo-ed on your TV?

            His best all-around games last season were against the Chicago Bears (regular season) and Atlanta Falcons (playoffs). Even those were only handful of catches for around 100 yards with a touchdown on top…

            However, in a majority of the games he was a 2-3 catch receiver, with a mediocre catch %, and with a less-than-mediocre YAC average. He also graded out positively as a blocker in only 5 of the 19 games in 2012.

          • Ben Peterson

            I didn’t know that nearly 70% catch rate was mediocre, it’s better than lots of receivers that come to mind when you think of great pass-catchers.

            YAC is also not the only mark of a great WR, as you seem to see it. YPC is a better indicator, and Tate was one of the highest YPC WRs in the game. In Football Outsider’s ratings he was also fourth in Value Per Play among WRs.

          • Nathan Kearns

            70% on the year would be outstanding, but the key term in my original statement was “in a majority of games”..

            He did manage some high percentage games against piss-poor secondaries (i.e. 3 for 3 against Carolina, 7 for 7 against Detroit, 4 for 5 against Miami). However, a majority of his regular season performances were below-average, or mediocre….

            Against .500 teams or better, Golden Tate went:

            3 for 7 against Green Bay (42.9%), 3 for 6 against New England (50%), 0 for 3 against San Fran (0%), 4 for 6 against Minnesota (66.7%, still below average), 2 for 3 against San Fran (66.7%). In fact, he only crossed the 67% threshold in ONE game against a team with a winning record, which was the Bears game…

            Even including that 5 of 6 games against Chicago, Tate held a 54.8% against winning opponents.

            If you want to look back past last season, it presses the point even more!

          • Ben Peterson

            Is Chris Givens better than Golden Tate?

          • Nathan Kearns

            Hard to say, given that Givens has essentially only played for three-fourths of one season. Would I take Chris Givens over Golden Tate for my team? Yes, absolutely…

            If you are going to attempt to make the comparison in catch percentage, I suppose that would be fair. However, their “missed catches” are coming from drastically different areas of the field. Most of Givens’ came on deep passes, 20+ yards down the field, whereas Tate’s were primarily in the middle of the field and on intermediate routes to the outside (via PFF).

            I would take Givens purely for his abilities after the catch. The Rams rookie was a monster after the catch, including 161 yards after the catch when passes where thrown to him behind the line of scrimmage. In fact, Givens maintained an average of 6.8 yards after the catch for the entire season, which ranked 9th in the NFL last season (5th among receivers with 500+ catches).

            Givens is also more of a downfield threat, setting the rookie record with five consecutive games with a 50+ yard catch and averaged 39.75 yards per catch on the deep ball; higher than Tate.

            Givens also never graded out negatively as a blocker in the screen game last season and never committed a penalty. Whereas, Tate graded out negatively on two different occasions and committed 3 penalties.

            Tate seems to be a product of Russell Wilsons success, in my opinion, putting up pathetic numbers in his first two season in the NFL. Givens is also younger, faster, and bigger…

          • SkeleTony X

            I hope the Rams (Fisher and whomever the GM is) are as silly as you are in determining who the best players are! Maybe they will trade us Tayvon Austin for one of our practice squad guys!

          • Ben Peterson

            Givens is one inch taller and five pounds lighter, and one year is not that big of a difference. He had only 19 YAC more than Tate, and had a catch percentage of barely more than 50%, if Tate’s is below average, what’s that? Givens also had four drops to Tate’s two, and had a 5% drop rate, while Tate’s was less than 3%. He had less than one more YPC than Tate, and three less catches on 14 more targets, he did have good YAC rates, but Tate’s were right up there with him, only .8 YAC less on average.

            On Football Outsiders Golden Tate is fourth in the league of WRs in DVOA, a system that rates players on value-per-play, with 32.9 as his DVOA, Givens has a -.6 rating. not exactly flattering. Tate also had more than 160 more DYAR, a rating system that looks at how many yards a team would not have without that player.

            By PFFs measure Golden Tate also had a better conversion rating that Givens, and by more than 12% too.

            There’s also the fact that Tate had 4 more TDs, but that’s neither here nor there.

            The record for 50+ yard catches is impressive, but Tate had more 20+ yard catches.

            Maybe we have different rating systems, but I’ll take the similar, more consistent player over the more explosive, yet inconsistent player.

            EDIT: one more thing I forgot, Golden Tate is the hardest receiver to tackle in the NFL. He had 14 broken tackles this season on 51 touches, for a league-leading 27% touches with a broken tackle.

            And one could say that Wes Welker was a product of Brady’s sucess.

  • SkeleTony X

    My primary disagreement with these rankings is at WR. How you can put the Seahawks at dead last when they have Percy Harvin, Golden Tate and Sidney Rice is not something that can be rationally justified. Who ARE the Rams WRs?! I am not sure I can even name one if I tried. And I understand giving Arizona a bump because they have Larry Fitzgerald but #2?! Above that entire star-studded Hawks group?! And the 49ers…yeah they are not the worst but Boldin is one year older, he is slow (but remarkably physical).

    Your list is a perfect example of why I would not want to make such lists myself. Bias is a real b*tch to get around.

    • SkeleTony X

      Also, at QB if you had put Kaepernick at #1 and Wilson as #2, I may not have liked it but I could not put forth an argument to refute such. He and Wilson are right now in a tie with only my bias nudging Wilson ahead. But Bradford…? He had a decent rookie season a few years back and has not stunk up the joint or anything since but he is #3, clearly. Carson Palmer is easily the worst of the bunch.

      • Nathan Kearns

        Decent rookie season? He was Offensive Rookie of the Year and took a talentless 2-14 team to 7-9, one game away from winning the NFC West, despite the fact that the Rams essentially added no talent to the offensive roster that season.

        Kaepernick took an 6-2 team, with one of the most talented rosters in the NFL in recent memory, and went 5-2-1 to finish the season, going 1-2-1 against division opponent (with the win being over Arizona), with two of those other wins being over the broken down Dolphins and mortified Saints. The only solid wins were over a post-Cutler concussion Bears team (not impressive) and the Patroits.

        Yes, they went to the Super Bowl, but they should have been in the Super Bowl last season as well, and with a 13-3 record with Alex Smith as their quarterback. The kid has played 7 3/4 regular season games and fewer than 536 regualr season snaps, he hasn’t earned the right to be given the benefit of the doubt.

        Bradford has playing behind some of the worst offensive lines in the NFL history and with his best two receiver have been two previously-cut practice squad players (Gibson and Amendola). This past year, without Amendola, he was still nearly a 4000 yard passer, with a +8 TD-to-INT ratio, and a 60% completion percentage.

        Just because the media is infatiated with a player does not mean they are an amazing talent. Look at the players that got all the hype in the draft: Manti Te’o, Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Tyrann Matheui? The media picks and chooses who the uninformed NFL fan base will hold up on a pedistoll. Kaepernick happened to be in that spot….

        • SkeleTony X

          First of all, team sport guy. Kaepernick did not lose games by himself and Bradford did not win games by himself. Secondly, the 49ers beat more impressive opponents than the Rams did. Third, Alex Smith is not great. He gets this vastly overrated stature because of what Harbaugh did for him last year and early this year. He is not the scrub he first seemed to be but Kaepernick is a vast improvement.

          Bradford is behind both Wilson and Kaep’. And no the Rams O-line is not even close to being “some of the worst in NFL History” (those would be the Hawks O-lines from almost every year prior to 2000 or so and the Jets last year).

          The 49ers could not have made it to the SB last year because of Smith as their QB, plain and simple. If they had Kaep as their QB then maybe. As for Kaep’ going 1-2-1 against division opponents to finish the season…well, of course he did. The NFC West is the toughest division in the NFL! Even our worst team went 5-0 to start the season, beating even New England and Seattle! The Rams were a surprisingly good team themselves! So it is fully expected that the 49ers would have their toughest games within their own division.

          Also those “broken down” Dolphlins beat up on more than a few teams they were not expected to beat last year and the “mortified” Saints’s losses came against the freaking top teams in the NFL! The 49ers, the Packers, The Broncos, Giants, Redskins, Falcons and Cowboys (who have/had a team full of Super Bowl talent but were saddled with Jerry Jones and crappy coaches)!

          Bradford is no scrub I will grant you but he is still the third best QB in our division, just ahead of Palmer.

          Try to be a little more objective guy.

          • Nathan Kearns

            “First of all, team sport guy. Kaepernick did not lose games by himself and Bradford did not win games by himself. Secondly, the 49ers beat more impressive opponents than the Rams did. Third, Alex Smith is not great. He gets this vastly overrated stature because of what Harbaugh did for him last year and early this year. He is not the scrub he first seemed to be but Kaepernick is a vast improvements.”

            Agreed, that also means that Kaepernick did not win games by himself. However, having more talent on both the offense and defense makes winning as a team a lot easier, right? So, it would make sense that Bradford would get more credit for his wins on a lesser team?

            The Rams had a Top 5 “hardest” schedule in 2012, and a Top 3 schedule this season. The 49ers, with Kaepernick as their quarterback, won games against the Miami Dolphins (7-9), Arizona Cardinals (5-11), New Orleans Saints (7-9) and a post-Cutler concession Bears’ team that lost 5 of its last 8 regular season games. Their lone “impressive” win was against the Patriots. He also went 1-2-1 against NFC West opponents.

            He was “vastly overrated” because he did not succeed until he was immersed in a quarterback friendly system with three 1st rounders on the offensive line, two 1st round skill players, and a potential future HOF running back. If Alex Smith is overrated for only succeeding in that system, then why isn’t Colin Kaepernick? Simply because you say so? There is absolutely nothing beside your subjective, unsupported opinion to back up that type of statement, considering Smith had a higher completion percentage, more touchdowns, and a significantly higher QB rating is almost an IDENTICAL number of attempts with the exact same roster. In fact, he put up better numbers in three fewer pass attempts than Kaep.

            “Bradford is behind both Wilson and Kaep’. And no the Rams O-line is not even close to being “some of the worst in NFL History” (those would be the Hawks O-lines from almost every year prior to 2000 or so and the
            Jets last year).”

            Actually, the 2011 offensive line graded out as one of the
            historically worst lines since stats have been kept for offensive linemen. On top of that, they also lost a historically high number of starters to the IR, including the starting LT, starting RT, starting LG, the #1 through #3 WRs, and
            the #1 through #3 CBs. You clearly have a centric and/or media driven view on the talent around the league. Case and point, the Jets were not even a Bottom 10 OL unit in the NFL last season, let alone “in the history of the NFL.” Pro
            Football Focus has it Cardinals, Chargers, Colts, Jaguars, Raiders, Bears, Panthers, Eagles, Cowboys, Dolphins… in fact, the Jets line graded out in the Top 15 in 2012. So, there’s that…

            “The 49ers could not have made it to the SB last year because of Smith as their QB,plain and simple. If they had Kaep as their QB then maybe.”

            Why, they were a single play away from being in the Super Bowl last season with Smith as the quarterback, and had a 6-2 record, and were beating the Rams, before he got hurt. There is no possible way of knowing if they would or wouldn’t have, but given their success until that point, the
            smart money would point to Yes. “If they had Kaep as their QB then maybe” What does that even mean? They did make it, are you confused?

            “As for Kaep’ going 1-2-1 against division opponents to finish the season…well, of course he did. The NFC West is the toughest division in the NFL! Even our worst team went 5-0 to start the season, beating even New England
            and Seattle! The Rams were a surprisingly good team themselves! So it is fully expected that the 49ers would have their toughest games within their own
            division.”

            To start off, Arizona went 4-0 to start the season, and also
            didn’t win a single divisional game after the opener. What do you mean “of course” he lost, if he as good as you say he is, he should dominate in the division. Wilson went 3-3-0, Bradford went 4-1-1, and even Alex Smith was 2. There
            is no excuse for Kaepernick being 1-2-1, heck, John Skelton was 1-2 in the division…

            “Also those ‘broken down” Dolphlins beat up on more than a few teams they were not expected to beat last year and the “mortified” Saints’s losses came against the freaking top teams in the NFL! The 49ers, the Packers, The Broncos, Giants, Redskins, Falcons and Cowboys (who have/had a team full of Super Bowl talent but were saddled with Jerry Jones and crappy coaches)!

            Bradford is no scrub I will grant you but he is still the third best QB in our division, just ahead of Palmer.”

            The Dolphins and Saints both had losing records, so I am not going to waste my time arguable about how good they actually were

            “Try to be a little more objective guy.”

            I have been complete objective in my rankings (to the best of my ability). You have been misinformed, incorrect, or irrational on ever counterpoint. I get it, you like Colin Kaepernick, but because you think something, doesn’t mean it is true…

          • SkeleTony X

            Okay, I see you are into taking naked numbers and comparing them (across time, space and all manner of variables) to arrive at your conclusions. Your post is of admirable length but it also means I would have to post a virtual novel debunking the many points. Something I do not have the time nor the inclination to do right now.

            So keeping in line with your own methodology I will just point to Bradford’s current sketchy status with everyone openly wondering if taking him was a huge mistake considering his performance in the last few years. There is not a coach in the NFL who would take Bradford over Kaepernick right now and even Harbaugh chose Kaepernick over Alex Smith (which should tell you something). I will stick with my prior response about the strength of the games won and lost by the various NFC West teams last year as I do not think you were able to refute such.

            Hint: Having a “losing record” in itself does not = “Was a worse team than…”. There are a million and one reasons why a superior NFL team can end up having a 7-9 record while a clearly inferior team can end up with a 9-7 (or better) record.

            I will part with this repeated bit you did not want to touch to make my point here:

            “Also those ‘broken down” Dolphins beat up on more than a few teams
            they were not expected to beat last year and the “mortified” Saints’
            losses came against the freaking top teams in the NFL! The 49ers, the
            Packers, The Broncos, Giants, Redskins, Falcons and Cowboys (who
            have/had a team full of Super Bowl talent but were saddled with Jerry
            Jones and crappy coaches)!”

    • Nathan Kearns

      Star-studded? You are joking be right?

      Sidney Rice has been mediocre, at best, since he came to Seattle from Minnesota. And Golden Tate is only a “star” because of a single touchdown catch, that should have been ruled an intereception.

      Rice is purely a catch-and-fall receiver, breaking a grand total of ZERO tackles and compiling a mindblowingly low 160 yards after the catch, despite playing 797 offensive snaps. Tate was not much better, contributing a mere 45 catches and 688 yards on 742 snaps on the field. Doug Balwin was the worst of them all, with a loisy 63% catch rate and a 12.6 yard per catch average; and worse, a 2.8 yards after catch average. None of those players are dynamic, they simply rely on Marshawn Lynch to force the defense to stack the box, then rely on Wilson’s arm to get them yards before getting two-hand touched to the ground.

      The Rams didn’t have much last season, but they did have Chris Givens, who put up nearly 700 yards, 300 of those after the catch. He essentiallly did not play in the opening 5 games of the season, and still set a rookie record for consecutive games with a 50+ yard reception (including burning the “Lod of Corners,” Richard Sherman, during that streak). His yard after catch and yards per reception were higher than both Rice and Tate. Oh yea, and he had 150 fewer snaps to work with…

      You can argue with the touchdowns number all you want, but scoring figures are a representation of the team as a whole, not the individual player (in most cases). Calvin Johnson is far and away the best receiver in the NFL, but had only 5 touchdowns in Detroits’ pathetic offense.

      To stay on the Rams train, even Austin Pettis was not bad, catching 30 passes and 4 touchdowns in less than half the time on the field as either Tate or Rice. And Quick, in less than 200 offensive snaps, snagged 11 balls for 156 yards, and two beastly touchdown (destroying Chris Culliver vs. 49ers, and highjumping in the endzone against Minnesota).

      You can deny the fact the Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, and Stedman Bailey will “pan out,” but you could say the same thing about Percy Harvin coming back from an injury if you want to get technical about it. Harvin should send them to #2 or #3 in the rankings (which I mentioned in the original article if you had actually taken the time to read them before commenting here), but there is no telling how he will act in Seattle or if he will even be on the field. He has played fewer than 50% of offensive snaps in 37.3% of his 67 NFL games (i.e. basically 25 misses), which isn’t a good precedent to set, especially since he is no longer the sole receiver on the team.

      Rankings are supposed to spark debate, especially in the “dead period” of the NFL offseason. You fully admit that you do not know any of the Rams receivers, so I highly doubt you know anything about the depth of wide receiver outside of the Seattle roster. If you think the ‘Hawks are “star studded” at receiver, I shutter to think of what a team like Atlanta, Green Bay or even Cincinnati or Denver would be called…

      • Ben Peterson

        In response to the top paragraph, well yeah they rely on Marshawn lynch to stack the box, just like the rams did when Steven Jackson was in his prime. The other thing about Doug Baldwin’s catch percentage, it’s about on par with Wes Welker and Julio Jones. 63% is pretty good, it’s higher than Sam Bradford’s completion percentage.

      • SkeleTony X

        Re: Rice

        If you want to say he is injured too often then fine, I can’t really contest that. But other than that you are so far off the mark I can’t believe you even posted this nonsense!? Rice is not only a great WR who would be unemployed for less time than it takes to SPELL “unemployed” if the Hawks let him go, but he can also throw TD passes.

        Rice is not a tackle-breaker for the most part. Fortunately this is not a requisite of being a great WR in the NFL. If you have speed and athleticism it will serve you better than strength as a receiver.

        Re: Tate

        Tate is a star because he beats people down (be they linebackers, cornerbacks or what have you) on his way to making highlight reel catches, as he did all of last year. Pretending he did not and overemphasizing the debatable Green Bay catch as if it was the only catch he made will not help you here.

        Oh and the reason why a star-studded NFL team’s receivers will sometimes not have multiple 1,000 yard and 100 catch receivers is precisely because they have a LOT of targets the QB can spread the ball around to.

        Re: Baldwin

        Had a disappointing season and was replaced by Harvin. The WR everyone in the NFL wanted badly…including your Rams.

        Re: The rest of what you said

        We shall see. Our receiver core is right now better than Green Bay’s by FAR! It is at the very least on par with Atlanta’s and probably better than Denver’s. Who does Cinci’ have besides Green?
        And the reason I, like most other NFL fans do not know who the Rams’ receivers are (aside from the desperately needed Tayvon Austin they drafted) is because they are rather mediocre. I will grant that part of the reason they do not turn heads may be due to Bradford being their QB but still…