‘Tis the season of giving. It’s also the season where we get what we want and need.
Unfortunately for many NFL teams, they didn’t wake up Christmas morning with their wants and needs wrapped up neatly under the tree. Because most of them are pretty needy this time of year.
Whether it’s simply health, or something as major as a new coach and GM, every NFL team needs something as the regular season winds down.
Roger Goodell doesn’t seem like the type to dress up as Santa and climb down the chimney, but if he gave each NFC West team one present this holiday season, here’s what they’d ask for:
Seahawks – Richard Sherman’s suspension to be overturned
Richard Sherman has developed into one of the better cover corners in the league. If his suspension stands, he’ll likely miss the next four games, which include the playoffs.
Sherman was suspended for violating the NFL’s violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Reports say he tested positive for Adderall in September. Sherman appealed his positive test on Friday, and the ruling is expected to be announced later this week.
The second-year cornerback leads Seattle in interceptions with seven, and ranks fourth on the team with 61 tackles. He also returned a blocked field goal attempt 90 yards for a touchdown in Seattle’s Sunday night’s win over San Francisco.
Sherman seems to get better every week, and his coverage skills have allowed the Seattle coaching staff to turn more pass rushers loose on opposing quarterbacks.
If the ruling stands, this will have a major impact on Seattle, and the NFC moving forward.
49ers – Wide receivers besides Michael Crabtree
Let’s start by saying that Michael Crabtree is quietly turning into the player the 49ers hoped they were getting when they picked him No. 1o overall in the 2010 Draft.
He has five-or-more receptions in nine games this season and three 100-yard performances.
The problem is, he’s been the only pass catcher doing much for San Francisco lately.
The team’s second-leading receiver, tight end Vernon Davis, has recorded only five receptions in the last five games; he suffered a concussion Sunday. Mario Manningham is No. 3 on the team in receiving yards, and he went down with a season-ending knee injury last week.
So while Crabtree will likely keep doing his thing, somebody on the 49ers needs to step up opposite from him.
Rams – Consistency
St. Louis went into San Francisco and tied the 49ers. They then defeated the 49ers when the teams played in the Edward Jones Dome later in the season. Between those games they got beat down by the Jets at home.
This team is much improved under first-year coach Jeff Fisher, but it’s tough to shake the stink of 2011’s two-win season.
For this team to become more consistent, it needs its stars to embrace stronger leadership roles. The players need to step up and bring it every week, not just when they’re facing division rivals.
While the defense is talented, it is very young and often plays that way.
The Rams also need third-year quarterback Sam Bradford to play better. It’s a quarterback-driven league, and if you’re signal caller is up and down, so is your team.
Cardinals – Offensive line
But don’t forget that Kevin Kolb led the Cardinals to a 4-0 start. While Kolb’s numbers weren’t spectacular, he was serviceable enough to get the W.
Arizona’s defense is stout. It has the weapons on the outside and in the backfield. And Kolb can manage the game well enough.
But when he is getting sacked nine times in a game and the running backs have nowhere to go, it makes things tough.
The Cardinals have been ravaged by injuries up front—they lost starting tackle Levi Brown in the preseason and recently placed center Lyle Sendlein on injured reserve. But even if those guys were healthy, this group is simply not talented or deep enough to get the Cardinals where they want to be.
No team should ever be in a situation where it is starting two rookie tackles, yet Arizona has been there since Week 11.