While the 49ers will not be checking into training camp for a couple weeks, the Arizona Cardinals get training camp started next week due to their participation in the Hall of Fame Game. Given how quickly that is coming around, I figured now was as good a time as any to take a look around the NFC West and see what is going on. The 49ers are sizable favorites to claim the division in 2012, but there is the potential for noticeable improvement among the other three teams.
The Arizona Cardinals are sorting through their running back position with health issues for both Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams. Wells had knee surgery in January and it remains to be seen exactly when he'll be back at 100%. It was apparently something more significant than work on the meniscus, but nobody seems to know for certain. The reports have it sounding like he'll be ready at some point during training camp, but it is hard to tell anything more specific.
The team will be looking for more work from their second round pick a year ago, Ryan Williams. He tore his right patella tendon last August and appears to be on track to return for this season. The Cardinals are hoping he can cut down on Beanie Wells' workload. Although Wells did power through last season, he dealt with an assortment of problems that culminated in his offseason surgery.
The St. Louis Rams find themselves in the midst of some sort of bizarre situation with second round pick Janoris Jenkins. While their contract negotiation has dealt with a variety of guaranteed money issues, things have reportedly gotten particularly sticky over a promise that Jenkins would hire a business manager specified by head coach Jeff Fisher.
It sounds like there were some documents Jenkins signed promising to do this, but Jenkins agent Malik Shareef said there was no such promise. I would imagine the problem will get resolved, but the whole thing is kind of bizarre. It sounds like Jenkins is the front-runner to join Cortland Finnegan in the Rams starting lineup.
Things are quiet up in the Pacific Northwest as the Seahawks quietly try and figure out their quarterback position. Over at Field Gulls, Kenneth Arthur had an interesting take on the QB position, taking a sort of glass half empty approach. The folks at Field Gulls are apparently pretty pumped for this year, so Kenneth wanted to temper the enthusiasm a little bit.
The quarterback position is what makes both the Seahawks and Cardinals such wild cards in the division. They both face the significant question of who will be starting at quarterback, and what success that eventual starter will have. The 49ers and Rams face questions about what kind of success to expect from their starter, but they know who that guy will be to start the season.
For the Seahawks in particular, there are enough questions surrounding Matt Flynn that it is hard to make any sort of firm judgement about what to expect in 2012. He could very well provide the answers, but can anybody really project with certainty what to expect from Flynn in 2012?