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NFC WEST

Feb. 15, 2016
Feb. 15, 2016

Table of Contents
Feb. 15, 2016

SI NOW
INBOX
SUPER BOWL 50 2016
OFF-SEASON PREVIEW
BASEBALL 2016
FIFA 2016
  • WHOEVER WINS THE ELECTION TO REPLACE DISGRACED PRESIDENT SEPP BLATTER IN THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION IN FIFA'S CORRUPT HISTORY WILL BE FACED WITH THIS QUESTION: DO THE VOTERS REALLY WANT CHANGE?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL 2016
NBA 2016
COLLEGE FOOTBALL 2016
  • By Chris Johnson

    AFTER FIVE YEARS IN THE RECRUITING CROSSHAIRS, NO. 1 PROSPECT RASHAN GARY FINALLY PICKED A SCHOOL. NOW THE REAL BATTLE CAN BEGIN

  • The best way to stop the rash of decommitments and pulled scholarships is to let players sign as soon as they get an offer

  • By Gabe Baumgaertner

    How did the last 10 No. 1 recruits turn out?

  • Ten players who can make a difference next fall

NASCAR 2016
BUSHWACKER
  • Kent Cox turned Bushwacker into the greatest bucking bull in history—and their bond was as deep as that between any trainer and human athlete. So why did Cox make the bull a witness to his ultimate act of violence?

POINT AFTER
Departments

NFC WEST

Seattle Seahawks 10--6

This is an article from the Feb. 15, 2016 issue

TOP PRIORITY: CORNERBACK

After an uneven first few months, the Seattle defense regained its dominant form in December. Not coincidentally, that's when undrafted fourth-year cornerback DeShawn Shead emerged and when cornerback Jeremy Lane returned from ACL and wrist injuries. Both are free agents now, and Seahawks history says they won't be re-signed. GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll prefer to build cheaply at corner, through the draft. They used a fifth-rounder last year on lanky Tye Smith, though he failed to earn meaningful snaps even when the club was scrambling for answers.

ALSO: PASS RUSHER. Another team will almost certainly offer free agent Bruce Irvin more money.

LOS ANGELES RAMS 7--9

TOP PRIORITY: QUARTERBACK

The Rams got the better of the doubly disappointing Sam Bradford for Nick Foles trade, but only because Foles also came with the Eagles' second-round pick. He also came with a lack of quickness—physically, mentally and in his throwing motion—and was benched in mid-November. The Rams can't afford to use that extra second-rounder on Foles's replacement; they need to get their franchise QB in round 1. L.A.'s offense is currently built to run the ball. In today's NFL that means it's built to go no better than 10--6—or, more likely, 6--10.

ALSO: CORNERBACK. Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson are at the end of their rookie deals.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 5--11

TOP PRIORITY: WIDE RECEIVER

It will be interesting to see whom GM Trent Baalke brings in at receiver for Chip Kelly's scheme. In Philadelphia, Kelly dumped high-priced speedsters Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson and drafted possession guys. The results were disastrous. Baalke presumably values speed. Why else would he spend $40 million on the fundamentally flawed Torrey Smith in free agency last year? Anquan Boldin could be re-signed, though his age (35) tops a growing list of things that can catch up to him. Ultimately, San Francisco will need at least two solid all-around wideouts with decent speed or a bona fide playmaker who can affect coverages.

ALSO: GUARD. It was a problem for the Niners in 2015; now they need two athletic ones to make Kelly's system work.

ARIZONA CARDINALS 13--3

TOP PRIORITY: OFFENSIVE LINE

Center Lyle Sendlein, guard Ted Larsen and tackle Bobby Massie are all free agents—and all replaceable. Arizona has a deep-drop, pocket-passing offense that employs a lot of empty formations. With no running back in to block, the burden falls entirely on the O-line. The Cards have succeeded despite mediocrity up front, but why keep risking it? Management invested in the line over the last two years, signing LT Jared Veldheer in 2014 and LG Mike Iupati in '15, when they also drafted developmental tackle D.J. Humphries in round 1. That's three starting linemen; two more are needed.

ALSO: DEFENSIVE LINE. Depth is essential in a scheme that's heavy on rotations.

PHOTOPAUL JASIENSKI/AP (LANE)PHOTOCHRISTOPHER SZAGOLA/CSM (IUPATI)FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS