It was wild last year; how wild will it be this year ?
Last year was a wild year in the west for sure. It saw a Cardinals team start 4-0 and beating the Pats after being wrote off before the year started. Then all of the band wagoners jumped on and that ship sunk like a rock to the bottom of the red sea as the Cards lost 11 of their last 12. We saw the Seahawks take the most advantage of the interim officials of any team in the league; narrowly victorious over the packers on a blown call and propelling their season and rookie QB to the playoffs. Then the 9ers oust their starting QB after he lead them to the NFC championship game the year before and was on pace to do it again. They brought in the 2nd year rookie who ran rough shot over the competition before losing in the Harbaugh Vs. Harbaugh bowl. Who am I forgetting ? Oh yeah. The Rams who everyone else forgot about too. They only went out and won the division record and didn't lose to the eventual NFC superbowl representative but somehow were only 1 of 2 teams in the NFC West who didn't make the playoffs.
This years offseason only made the west more wild.
The Cards have to feel good about their offseason as they went out and potentially shored up their biggest weaknesses. They brought in a QB friendly HC, the reigning coach of the year with an experienced well respected staff and beefed up the coach to player ratio. They brought in a proven QB in Palmer who can play the position at a high level with some certainty and consistency. They brought in a healthy #1 RB who will most certainly improve the run game and pass blocking. They drafted a highly touted guard in Cooper with the #7 overall pick, who should start right away and improve the overall play of the offensive line. Those are the significant improvements the Cards made that you have to feel good about. Now it's time to see if its enough to challenge in the Wild West.
The division foes certainly didn't sit back and watch the Cards do all the work. The Rams appear to have addressed their biggest needs as well. That being the receiver position, drafting the dynamic duo from WVU. As well as signing LT Long away from Miami. The Seahawks made a trade for a playmaker in Pervy Harcin ( lol..original typo I preferred not to fix ) and you'd think that team didn't need much beyond that. They did lose their DC though and we will just have to wait and see how that effects them. The 9ers offseason was quite interesting in that they appeared to feel they didn't really have any immediate needs and drafted a bunch of guys to fill out their depth chart and build for their future. They also went again for the aging veterans in Boldin and Namde. That didn't work out too well with Moss. Im very interested in seeing how that decision plays out; especially now with the loss of Crabtree.
Most feel that the Seahawks and the 9ers are clearly the cream of the crop in the west and the Rams and Cards just don't have enough to compete with those teams. If your going on last years performances, that would be a good assumption. If your drinking the koolaid in St. Louis and Arizona; there's plenty to feel optimistic about given the off seasons the two teams had and the glimmers of hope that were intertwined with sheer frustration in 2012.
The only thing you can be really certain of is; football is near, soon you can enjoy some football and beer, and it will surely be the Wild Wild West again this year.
Training camp: 7/26 1st Preseason Game: 8/9 1st Regular Season Game: 9/8 1st Playoff Game: TBD :)