NFC West Blog
Rams' former 2012 first-round pick Tavon Austin has struggled mightily in the pros. He disappointed as a rookie catching just 40 passes for 418 yards and four touchdowns after being selected with the eighth-overall pick in the draft. He followed his subpar rookie campaign with a disastrous second season. In 2014, he caught only 31 passes for 242 yards and no TDs. However, once again we're nothing but good things about Austin coming out of Rams' camp. New offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti has had nothing but praise for the former Mountaineer. "Tavon Austin's had a great offseason," Cignetti said. "It starts in the classroom. He's learning. He's paying attention. He's bringing it to the practice field. You just see it from his route running. What a difference. His effort, his attention to details. Every day out there, the guy's made plays."
Undrafted free agent Thomas Rawls has been very impressive in Seahawks' camp this offseason. He transferred from Michigan to Central Michigan for the 2014 season. AT Central Michigan last season he rushed for 1,103 yards and 10 touchdowns on 5.3 yards per carry. The Seahawks signed him following this year's draft and he has more than impressed his head coach Pete Carroll. "I love his style of running," Carroll Said. "He's really a head-knocker. He really goes after guys and when you guys get to see him put the pads on you'll see how physical of a runner he is. He had play after play in college of just smacking people and running and breaking tackles and all that. He showed very good feet, he caught the ball well, he's going to be a very-willing blocker. He was a real bright spot. I thought he really jumped out at us and he was very consistent, worked throughout the whole thing knowing that his best, maybe most exciting dimension, hasn't even been seen yet. He had a great camp for us. It'll be really fun to see him when we start playing ball."
49ers' wideout Quinton Patton has been a preseason star that has tantalized and disappointed fantasy owners to this point. His WRs coach Ronald Curry believes the only thing that is holding Patton back is a lack of opportunity. He claims that's going to change this season. "Quinton Patton has always flashed," Curry said. "He's going to get a real opportunity to go out there and see what he can do. I've been here since he was a rookie, and just to see him grow as a player and a person is great to see. He's always been dedicated, he's always been focused, he's always worked hard, he's smart and it's going to be interesting to see how he does in this camp."
When the Rams drafted Todd Gurley in the first round of this year's draft, Tre Mason "was in shock". However, instead of letting it discourage him, he's used it as motivation. Not only has Mason lost about 10 pounds to increase his speed and quickness, he will also spend next month in Florida with top athletes and trainer Tony Villiani at XPE Sports. Mason sounds very driven to be the best. "There's no relaxation for me. None,'' he said. "Right now I feel like I grind as if there is no more time on the clock, like there's no tomorrow. A whole lot of top guys work out there — (New Orleans') Mark Ingram, the Pouncey brothers (Miami's Mike and Pittsburgh's Maurkice), (Philadelphia's) Byron Maxwell — and (Hall of Fame receiver) Cris Carter is a coach down there. It's a great atmosphere because the trainers and the other guys there are constantly pushing you to get better and that's what I'm looking for. And I need the sand, the beach, in my workouts.''
Rams' first-round pick Todd Gurley is still recovering from a torn ACL. Many have speculated that he may start the season on the PUP list, while others suggest he will be ready to go Week 1. As of now, we really have no idea. However, Gurley says his main goal right now is to be able to participate during the team's training camp. "That is definitely a goal that I'm shooting for," Gurley said. "Just to be able to get out there and do at least some individual stuff. It's looking pretty realistic. This month I'll be in St. Louis rehabbing, so hopefully I can aim for (training camp) … Right now I'm just trying to get back on the field, that is one of my biggest goals right now."
The 49ers have cleaned house and the offense will now be run by new offensive coordinator Geep Chryst. According to veteran wideout Anquan Boldin, the team will be running a more uptempo offense this season. "It's definitely a fast tempo," Boldin said. "We're trying to get a lot faster than last year as far as getting to the line. … As far as the system, it's very similar to what we've run in past years. Some of the terminology is a bit different but there's still familiarity with past years."
Rams' first-round pick Todd Gurley says he's scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews in the next few weeks to recheck his surgically repaired ACL. To this point Gurley is not believed to have suffered any setbacks and his head coach Jeff Fisher has eluded to him being ahead of schedule. This re-evaluation could go a long way in determining whether or not Gurley will be forced to start the season on the PUP list.
After leading the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowls, Russell Wilson wants to become the highest paid player in the NFL. He has reportedly asked for more than the five-year $110 million contract Aaron Rodgers signed. This is partially because he and his agent believe the salary cap is going to make a big jump soon and QBs will be getting paid much more than they are right now. So he wants a "relevant" deal. There is much debate whether or not Wilson deserves this kind of money. Some believe his supporting cast combined with his mere 20 touchdown passes makes him not worthy of the monster deal he's seeking. Others believe his dual threat ability, intelligent play and intangibles make him well worth the price tag.
Undrafted free agent out of Alabama DeAndrew White has been a standout in 49ers camp this offseason. He has impressed both his coaches and teammates. Despite the fact that he went undrafted, some of his former Crimson Tide teammates and coaches saw this coming, including head coach Nick Saban and first-round pick Amari Cooper. Saban said, "DeAndrew White is probably the guy that I would say, if you said, 'Who would be most underappreciated by the NFL?' because he has a lot more ability than what his production maybe has been here. He's got great speed. He's got great size. He's a great special teams player. I think he's going to be a real value for somebody. Somebody's going to get a guy who has great ability and probably could develop into something special."
Recently rumors have surfaced that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wants to be the highest-paid player in the NFL and his future with Seattle is not guaranteed. Wilson intends to play out the final year of his rookie contract on an insurance policy just in case he suffers a career ending injury. He is currently being grossly underpaid by anyone's standards. He's only set to make $1.542 million this season. That doesn't even crack the top 40 among quarterbacks. With all that set, Wilson still wants to remain in Seattle for the foreseeable future. "The contract will work itself out," Wilson said. "I'm excited about it and excited to hopefully be a Seattle Seahawk for a really, really long time. So, that's the goal."