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NFC WEST

Feb. 11, 2013
Feb. 11, 2013

Table of Contents
Feb. 11, 2013

GOLF PLUS
THE MAIL
LEADING OFF
2013 SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS
NFL 2013 OFF-SEASON PREVIEW
Departments

NFC WEST

By Text by Don Banks

PROBLEM STAT

This is an article from the Feb. 11, 2013 issue

18 Tackles missed by Janoris Jenkins, tied for most among cornerbacks.

SOLUTION

Jenkins was a playmaking machine as a rookie (his four interceptions led the team, and his four return TDs led the NFL), but he needs to learn to tackle better. The new defensive coordinator, whoever he is, will help with that.

AND THEN?

Spend some draft capital (the Rams have two first-round picks) on finding RB Steven Jackson's replacement. Whether Jackson, 29, returns in 2013 or not, the end of his successful tenure is near.... WR Danny Amendola is a nice little receiver, and St. Louis needs to re-sign him. But give quarterback Sam Bradford a fighting chance and add a big, athletic target in free agency. Chiefs free agent Dwayne Bowe should be on the radar.... Coach Jeff Fisher doesn't like to draft offensive linemen in the first round, but there's a need at tackle, and if Central Michigan's Eric Fisher is still available at No. 16, Fisher should break his rule for Fisher.

PROBLEM STAT

39.2% Plays during which QB Russell Wilson was pressured, second most in the NFL.

SOLUTION

Adapt the blocking scheme so that it's more in sync with Wilson, who is not a pocket passer. Keeping rushers off Wilson, who was sacked 33 times as a rookie, is paramount.

AND THEN?

Bring in a backup whose skill set is similar to Wilson's. Matt Flynn won't fit in the updated blocking scheme.... Inject life into a pass rush that had only four sacks during a three-game stretch late in the season—and none in a divisional playoff loss to the Falcons.... Give Wilson one more quality target at receiver.

PROBLEM STAT

22.2% Early Doucet's drops of catchable balls, worst among receivers with at least 50 targets.

SOLUTION

Sign a better slot receiver. Wes Welker, a repeat Patriots franchise candidate, is a long shot, but his understudy, Julian Edelman, is a free agent, as are Danny Amendola and Brian Hartline. Or throw to Larry Fitzgerald more. He's always open.

AND THEN?

It would be easier to add another option at quarterback—such as unrestricted free agent Chase Daniel—than it would be to deal inside the division for Alex Smith or Matt Flynn.... Trade up from the seventh pick to get tailback Beanie Wells a tackle he can run behind, like Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel.

PROBLEM STAT

53.8% Field goals of 40 to 49 yards made by David Akers, second lowest among kickers and the worst rate of his career.

SOLUTION

Those are the field goals a good kicker needs to make. The 49ers can easily fix this problem by signing a veteran free agent such as the Jets' Nick Folk, who hit 77.8% of his field goals last season including 5 of 7 from 40 to 49 yards.

AND THEN?

Sign a deep-threat WR and move on from Randy Moss, who provided leadership and the occasional big play but did not stretch the field.... Groom a replacement for 33-year-old DT Justin Smith.... Trade QB Alex Smith for more draft picks, then select a pass-rush complement for LB Aldon Smith.

PHOTOTOM SZCZERBOWSKI/GETTY IMAGES (JENKINS)PHOTORICK BOWMER/AP (FLYNN)PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (DOUCET)PHOTOTONY AVELAR/AP (AKERS)PHOTO