“Living in the Wild Wild West. The Wild Wild NFC West!” Ok, that may not be the exact lyrics to the 1988 Escape Club hit (Oh yeah, I went there) but it fits this season’s NFC West quite perfectly.
The NFC West has gotten rave reviews through the first two weeks of the season and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. MVP level play from Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Insane defense from Aaron Donald and the rest of the Los Angeles Rams. Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray making that huge 2nd-year leap. And San Francisco doing what they often do…defying the odds in spite of mounting injuries.
Quarterback Jared Goff is overrated. He gets paid too much. The Rams are a poorly managed team. LA will fall in 2020.
These are just a handful of comments that have surrounded the Los Angeles Rams since last season. Is it warranted? The last time LA faced Dallas, they allowed the Cowboys to run all over them. However, in the home opener this past Sunday, the Cowboys faced a much different Rams team.
Will this silence the haters? Winning a home opener in a brand-new stadium with no fans against the heavily favored team?
The key to opening with a win depended on whether or not the Rams would be able to hold running back EzekielElliott. Last season, he ran all over LA, but there’s a new sheriff commanding Dallas – the pass rush happy new head coach, Mike McCarthy. I smile as I write this – if you’ve read my Green Bay Packers articles over the years, I don’t hide the fact that I would’ve liked to see him move on eons ago.
LA’s rookies came to play Sunday. Getting the start at wide receiver, Van Jefferson set up a turning point play with just two minutes left in the first half, allowing kicker Samuel Sloman to make a 31-yard field goal extending the Rams’ lead 13-7. He also was in the top three targets favored by Goff.
The standout rookie, to me, was safety Jordan Fuller. Not only did he record five solo tackles and three assists, but he also made a game-changing play when he stopped Cowboys rookie wide receiver, CeeDee Lamb, just one yard short of the line to gain on 4th and 3 from the Rams’ own 11.
New kicker Sloman fared ok. While he missed the early 29-yard field goal, he ended the game making his other two field goal attempts and went 2 for 2 on his extra-point attempts. I imagine that donking your first shot in your first pro-start would be hard to overcome mentally, so I DO give him credit for the way he came back from that. I still would like a stronger kicker in place, though.
Los Angeles is favored for a Week 2 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
I’ve written before how the NFC West is considered one of, if not the most competitive divisions in football. The first week of the 2020 season should highlight why so many see it that way.
A divisional matchup, a game against an NFC favorite, and a mentor/mentee coaching battle, early games, late games, primetime games…Week 1 has a lot going on for all four teams. And in this division, one that could be decided by a very small margin, every game counts. Let’s take a look around Week 1 in the NFC West.
Most agree this is the toughest division in football. It has produced the NFC Champion 4 out of the last 7 seasons, and many think that with the expanded playoffs, the NFC West could end up with three teams in the postseason.
Going into the 2020 season, this is also one of the hardest divisions to predict. You have the growth of a second-year QB and massive offseason additions in Arizona. There are the questions surrounding a Super Bowl hangover, and a growing list of injuries in San Francisco.
The Los Angeles Rams dropped off in 2019 after their Super Bowl loss, but are looking to rebound strong. And then there is the Seattle Seahawks with their elite QB and break out wide receiver, but that defense was seriously questionable.
What can we expect from all of this? Let’s take a look.
In this edition of the OTFB Fan Forum, I decided to have everyone take a look at this odd offseason. The all-virtual, Zoom edition of an offseason.
Since free agents weren’t allowed into any facilities, it made signing them more difficult for teams. Rookies weren’t allowed anywhere near the rest of the team until training camp. It was a little weird. I was curious about how our forum members thought their team faired. Did they improve? Get worse by losing important pieces? Did they make any moves at all?
Or, seeing as the circumstances were, well… unusual, did they just hang on?
In the 1999 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts had a decision to make. Take Edgerrin James or take Ricky Williams. With the fourth overall pick, the Colts decided James was their pick.
While some may have thought it would have been wiser to go the other direction, Williams has won the Heisman Trophy that year, James proved them all wrong by having an amazing rookie year, then continued his success throughout the rest of his career.
James, a running back out of Miami, came out of the gate stomping his competition. In his rookie year, he had 1553 yards rushing, 586 yards receiving, and a total of 17 touchdowns. He was named the AP’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, and he was just getting started.
Well, COVID-19 strikes again, delaying the 2020 ProFootball Hall of Fame enshrinement. However, this very large class of inductees deserves its recognition now. OTFB has decided that over the next few weeks, we will highlight these amazing men and all they have accomplished.
Steve Hutchinson (G) had a 12-year career in the NFL, playing for the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, and the Tennessee Titans. He was an All American in college, selected to the NFL All-Rookie team his first season, the Pro Bowl seven times, was a member of the All-Pro team five times, and was named to the NFL Team of the Decade for the 2000s.
NFL quarterbacks are always a hot topic. Overrated. Underrated. Overpaid. Underpaid. Elite. Not Elite. Top five lists. Quarterbacks are often the cause of a lot of arguments and constant comparisons to fans.
With Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott signing his tag, and nowhere near a new contract, and Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes scheduled to break the bank with his new contract, I decided to ask the fan forum how they felt about quarterbacks. Is their favorite team’s QB worth it? Do they feel quarterbacks are overhyped or undervalued? Here is how a few of them felt.
(Editors note: A few times a year we have guest contributors add to our website. Please enjoy.)
There have been many debates over the years. Waffles or pancakes? Chocolate or peanut butter? Tastes great or less filling? Allow me to add one more related to the NFL draft: Best available or fill needs?
I decided to dig into which strategy works better by researching ten years of drafts from 2009 through 2019. I chose the best team in each NFL division based on the overall record from that same period. I first looked at statistics for each season for these eight teams.
Items such as points scored and allowed, offensive and defensive rankings in each season, sacks allowed and recorded, and depth issues formed the baseline for what I saw as team needs for each draft. Any player chosen that would help improve the team in any of these areas was seen as a need pick, not a best available. Here are the teams and my analysis: