In case you haven’t heard, the NFC West has had some minor or not so minor troubles the past couple of weeks, both on the field and off the field. It all started with Rams CB Trumaine Johnson who got caught driving under the influence. From then on it kind of all went downhill. Seahawks DE Bruce Irvin then got suspended four games for breaking the NFL substance abuse policy by taking Adderall. Fans have been mockingly calling the Seahawks the Seadderall Seahawks because the Seahawks have had more PED suspensions than any other team in the NFL since Carroll took over. The troubles for the NFC West did not end there however, earlier this week 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon and could be out for the majority of the season. The troubles still were not over, Rams OG Rokevious Watkins got suspended week one for breaking the NFL substance abuse policy as well. Hopefully the troubles stop here for the NFC West, however this does shake things up a bit, so how do these situations affect the Rams and the rest of the NFC West?
Trumaine Johnson probably wont miss any games for his disappointing situation, however he may get fined. His situation will not affect the Rams and the NFC West at all. Irvin’s suspension on the other hand might. Many were surprised when the Seahawks took Irvin last season in the first round, but Irvin has turned out to be a good player and one to keep an eye on for years to come. Irvin played mostly in passing situations last season and racked up 9 sacks and 18 tackles including the post season. Irvin would be more of a loss had the team not signed Cliff Avril in the offseason who had 35 tackles and 9.5 sacks last season. The Seahawks should survive just fine and shouldn’t be affected by Irvin’s suspension. The Seahawks play the Panthers, 49ers, Jaguars, and Texans during Irvin’s suspension.
One situation that will affect the Rams and the rest of the NFC West however, is Michael Crabtree’s injury. Crabtree’s injury is the same injury that Terrell Suggs dealt with last season and ended up missing the first half of the season because of it. What is normally a season ending injury has become on in which the possibility of returning is plausible. With the expansions in medicine coming back from what were horrific injuries 10 years ago is possible. Example A, being what Adrian Peterson did coming off of an ACL tear last season. Crabtree became Kaepernick’s favorite target pulling in 665 of his 1,105 yards and 6 of his 9 touchdowns after the 49ers made the switch. Against NFC West opponents Crabtree had 33 receptions for 511 yards and 5 touchdowns. 12 of those receptions were against the Rams, and those went for 171 yards and one touchdown. Crabtree’s loss could be a big hit to the 49ers offense, and even if Crabtree comes back, he will be limited and will not be the same player. The 49ers did just sign Anquan Boldin, therefore Boldin could fill the void of Crabtree, but Boldin and Kaepernick don’t share the connection that Kaepernick had with Crabtree just yet. There may be some growing pains before it all starts to flow, and then it may be too late. With Crabtree’s absence, the rest of the NFC West may be able to jump ahead of the 49ers, especially if their offense struggles. For more informations on how Crabtree’s injury will affect the Rams, read, “Wide Receiver-By-Committee: Why Losing Michael Crabtree Will Hurt The 49ers” by Nathan Kearns http://ramblinfan.com/2013/05/23/wide-receiver-by-committee-why-michael-crabtree-will-hurt-the-49ers/The Rams play the 49ers week 4 on Thursday Night Football and again Week 13.
Rokevious Watkin’s suspension wont have much of an impact on the rest of the NFC West, but it might have an impact on how the Rams’ final roster shakes out. The Rams drafted OL Barrett Jones in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Jones has the potential to start at guard and with part of the competition not being able to play, Jones will get his opportunity, and if he plays well, Jones may just retain the starting position. Rokevious Watkins may be kicking himself if he loses the starting role due to a stupid mistake.
The NFC West has encountered a lot of drama over the last couple of weeks, and hopefully the suspensions and injuries stop here. Bad publicity to a team isn’t good and it’s never good when a player gets injured or suspended, but it’s always interesting how it will affect the team and the rest of the league. But you never know the next Kurt Warner may be waiting on the sidelines waiting for an opportunity.