Where will Rams NFC West Division rivals struggle this season?

Even as the LA Rams appear to have improved, can the same be said about their NFC West Division rivals?
Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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II: San Francisco 49ers - Restaffing coaches plus this roster headache

The number of NFL analysts who continue to jump aboard the San Francisco 49ers bandwagon is way over the top. Despite the fact that the 49ers balanced offensive attack in 2023 propelled them to the second-ranked offense in the NFL, their coaching staff was hammered hard this offseason. While not quite to the level of poaching that the Rams must endure each year, I'm not convinced that any analysts have taken the massive number of coaching changes into account.

But they should.

You see, the 49ers fired defensive coordinator Steve Wilks almost immediately after losing Super Bowl LVIII. That may have satisfied HC Kyle Shanahan, but it certainly did not help the team retain the number of defensive starts who defected via free agency And DC Steve Wilks is just one of several coaches who signed with other teams:

The 49ers were hit hard by losing key players. Such as:

  • DT Arik Armstead - 27 tackles, 5.0 QB sacks
  • DE Randy Gregory - 11 tackles, 2.5 QB sacks
  • DT Javon Kinlaw - 25 tackles, 3.5 QB sacks
  • DE Chase Young - 10 tackles, 2.5 QB sacks
  • LB Oren Burks - 45 tackles, 1.0 QB sacks
  • DE Clelin Ferrell - 28 tackles, 3.5 QB sacks
  • CB Isaiah Oliver - 67 tackles, 1.0 interceptions
  • DT Sebastian Joseph-Day - 5 tackles, 0.0 QB sacks

Keep in mind that the 49ers pushed hard for a Super Bowl win by signing a number of free agent veterans like Chase Young and Sebastian Joseph-Day to thicken their roster depth and allow rapid rotations to keep their defensive stars rested and healthy through the 2024 NFL Playoffs.

That didn't pan out for them.

And time is running out for the 49ers right now, as they have limited time before they are forced to pay QB Brock Purdy the big bucks:

Right now, 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is insisting upon a new contract. Depending on the day and who you trust, reported NFL rumors could lead you to believe that a deal would get done without a speed bump all the way to the other end of the spectrum where it has been said that the 49ers are ready to move on from Aiyuk in 2024.

The most ironic part about this story is that the most outlandish tales seem to originate from the player himself:

While we know that the 49ers have loaded up on offensive weapons, like rookie WR Ricky Pearsall and RB Isaac Guerendo, their defense will be hard pressed to remain quite as effective in 2024. And what will be the impact of Aiyuk's contract dispute on the 49ers in 2024?

The forces that bring high-flying teams back to earth are getting a foothold in the 49ers this year. The 49ers front office hit the jackpot by discovering QB Brock Purdy in Round 7 of the 2022 NFL Draft. But his too-cheap-to-believe contract will need to be amended soon, and in doing so, the team will need to cut salary expenditures elsewhere.

This will not be an easy season for the 49ers. Unfortunately, most NFL analysts have not figured that out, yet.