With just about every NFL training camp wrapping up and the regular season opener just over three weeks away, what better time to check out the rest of the NFC West? We all know that the reigning NFC West Champion Arizona Cardinals have had a pretty good camp and are nearing the regular season with very few significant injuries, but what about the 49ers, Rams and Seahawks?
- The biggest news in 49er-land is that their first round pick, Michael Crabtree is still not in camp and there doesn't appear to be any eminent signing either. We've all heard about Crabtree's threats to sit out the season and re-enter the draft next year so stories concerning showdown between the team and diva-wide reciever dominate NN at the moment (here, here, here). The Niners have other issues though like who will be the starting QB this season and after one preseason game, there is no real change in the thought that Shaun Hill is in the lead. The Niners recently took part in some joint practices with the Raiders and things got pretty feisty between the two teams, most notably Frank Gore. Gore has had an interesting camp highlighted by a new found passionate, vocal style of leadership that has many Niners' fans thinking that he is on the verge of the best season of his career.
- The big news is Rams' land revolves around the pinky finger of Marc Bulger (expected to miss two weeks) and the broken foot of Donnie Avery (a four to six week return). While it's possible that both could return by the Rams' season opener, you could imagine our freak-out factor if Warner and Larry Fitzgerald were sidelined with similar injuries (forgive me, Lord, for even mentioning such blasephemy). One interesing note is that Bulger is reaching out to his friend, Kurt Warner, for advice on how to manage an injury that KW has had in the past. The good news for the Rams though is that they started off the Spagnola era with a nice preseason win.
- The Seahawks got terrible news recently when they learned that Marcus Trufant (by far the team's best corner) is out with a intervertebral disc "not unlike" the one suffered by Matt Hasselbeck (remember that Hassel-bad-back missed most of the season with a spinal disc herniation). While it's unknown how long Trufant could be out, the team is preparing as though he'll miss the beginning of the season. To add insult to injury, Walter Jones (the prolific, yet aging left tackle) will undergo exploratory knee surgery on his left knee. This is bad news not only becaues Jones had microfracture surgery on the same knee nines months ago, but the term exploratory means that they really don't know what is wrong. Of course it's also worth mentioning that 'exploratory' surgeries are not invasive, at all, but the probability of him returning by opening day from the initial surgery was a long shot and a second surgery will only length his rehab timetable. The only other real news is that Hasselbeck has looked like his former self so far during camp and the Seahawks might be one of the teams that dip into the pool of veteran free agent running backs that are still avaliable.