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The Pro Football Notebook


April 17, 2010 2:12 PM

Spring Overview: NFC West

Kurt Warner has left Arizona and that potentially opens this division up after the Cardinals have won it two straight years. Although I think it deserves to be noted that Arizona was probably a better overall football team last year than in their miracle Super Bowl run of 2008 when they were mediocre most of the year and then caught lightning in a bottle in a upset-ridden playoff ride. Nonetheless, they were still a team built primarily around their quarterback and he must be replaced. That fact alone makes this an intriguing race. The Cardinals re-signed key free agents Steve Breaston (WR) and Joey Porter (LB), although the latter has had serious problems off the field during the offseason.

It's also intriguing because apparently mediocrity loves company. Seattle has fallen on hard times after having been the class of the division for a few years, including their own Super Bowl year of 2005. The Seahawks went out and lured Pete Carroll away from USC. Carroll abandoned ship just when the NCAA posse was coming to town, and that's reason enough to root against him. His spotty record in his previous NFL tenures with the Patriots and Jets give reason enough to be skeptical of his ability to work a magic turnaround that goes anything beyond the .500 level.

The eyes of the NFL are on St. Louis right now, as they get set to have the first pick in the draft. The Rams released Marc Bulger, giving rise to the speculation that they will pass on the elite defensive lineman available and opt for a quarterback, either Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen. Personally, I believe that would be a mistake. And San Francisco disappointed me last year. I was on the bandwagon of people who thought they would be a surprise playoff team, but they never quite got it going. The 49ers signed David Carr on the free agent market, making an interesting camp battle between him and Alex Smith, two former #1 draft picks. Their own inability to get their careers going on bad teams are something St. Louis should consider carefully before making the same mistake in a couple weeks.

On Wednesday we'll look shift over to the AFC and start with the East.

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