First in a series that will take a quick look at what’s happening with the 49ers’ opposition in the NFC West.
A weekly look at how the 49ers’ opposition is faring in the NFC West:
Seattle Seahawks (12-4 last season)
Buy: With a pass-rushing safety in Jamal Adams, coach Pete Carroll and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. can be creative in putting pressure on statuesque division passers Matt Stafford and Jimmy Garoppolo and mobile quarterbacks like Kyler Murray and Trey Lance.
Sell: Gabe Jackson was a solid addition from the Raiders at right guard, but this line — which Russell Wilson wanted to be upgraded — returns four starters. And that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Wait and see: It remains to be seen if the Seahawks can hold up on the outside on days where the pass rush isn’t getting there. It’s been a revolving door at cornerback seemingly since Richard Sherman left.
Los Angeles Rams (10-6)
Buy: Any defense with Aaron Donald at defensive tackle and Jalen Ramsey at cornerback has two top-shelf game-changers that are the best players at their respective positions by a considerable margin.
Sell: Running back Cam Akers looked poised for a big season only to be lost to a torn ACL. Sony Michel arrived via trade with New England to fortify the position, but how often does Bill Belichick trade someone who flourishes elsewhere?
Wait and see: Coach Sean McVay’s bold decision to move on from Jared Goff in favor of Matt Stafford will determine his Rams’ legacy. Stafford should be better. But how much better?
Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
Buy: Following a second season in which he passes for 3,971 yards with 26 touchdowns and rushed for 819 yards and 11 touchdowns, it is Kyler Murray who is the most feared passer-runner in the NFL.
Sell: Getting older is seldom a good thing and the Cardinals added three players with a lot of tread on the tires — defensive lineman J.J. Watt, center Rodney Hudson and wide receiver A.J. Green. Hudson at least has been able to stay healthy.
Wait and see: It was coach Kliff Kingsbury who was brought in to install an attack for Kyler Murray. If Kingsbury’s all-around coaching skill is left wanting, what happens to the offense he was brought in to install for a quarterback with a special skill set?
Buy: Kyle Shanahan’s quarterback plan is unconventional but will give opposing coordinators fits. Jimmy Garoppolo can still be an effective starter but if he’s hurt again, Trey Lance will have some experience. And until that happens, it will be must-see TV.
Sell: With Russell Wilson, Matt Stafford and Kyler Murray in the division, cornerback play is of huge importance. And rolling the dice on Josh Norman just before the regular season starts is not a good sign about what they think about the position.
Wait and see: Edge rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford had their 2020 seasons essentially wiped out because of injury. Bosa has gotten the kid gloves treatment at training camp. With Ford, it’s so far, so good. If both stay healthy, it can mask other defensive issues (cornerback, for example).