NFC West Blog
Despite an impressive preseason, which included three sacks in four games, rookie defensive end Michael Sam has been released by the Rams. Sam, a seventh-round pick in May, was attempting to make the roster as a situational pass rusher.
The NFL announced Friday that it has suspended 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith for nine games. The long suspension stems from Smith violating the league's personal conduct policy and the substance abuse policy. Smith has already lost his appeal. He will be eligible to return for San Fran's game on Nov. 10 versus the Saints.
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford re-tore his left ACL in Saturday night's preseason game versus the Browns, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. Bradford missed half of the 2013 season after tearing the same ligament. Shaun Hill is considered the team's starting QB for now.
49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree played in five games last season, but that wasn't really Michael Crabtree. The sixth-year wideout said it himself last week: "I was fast enough to be on the field. But I wasn't me."
This is understandable, of course, as Crabtree was coming back from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the spring. He is fully healthy now, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick has noticed an improved Crabtree on the field.
Colin Kaepernick ran for 502 yards in 10 starts, including the postseason, in 2012. After putting some dynamic highlights on tape in those playoffs, expectations were high and subsequently not met in 2013 as Kaepernick ran for basically the same amount of yards in 16 regular-season starts. There is a good reason for this plateau, a reason that Kaepernick has not spoken about until now.
The 49ers' quarterback played the 2013 season out after suffering two injuries to his left foot in Week 2 versus the Seahawks. Specifically, Kaepernick had a chipped bone in his forefoot and a ruptured capsule in the ball of his foot.
"It was something that was always there," Kaepernick told the Sacramento Bee. "Never spoke about it, never said anything about it because you're a football player, you play through pain. Unless you're being carted off, you should be on the field. If it's something you can play through, that's what you do."
Kapernick remained on the field in full practices and games for the rest of the year. He was listed on the injury report in Weeks 3, 6, 7 and 8 with a "foot" injury but was then removed from the report in Week 9.
The Cardinals have activated DB Tyrann Mathieu from the Physically Unable to Perform list, according to Kent Somers via Twitter. Mathieu is coming off of an ACL/LCL tear suffered late in the 2013 season. By removing him from the PUP list, the Cardinals avoided having to keep Mathieu sidelined for the first six weeks of the season. However, Mathieu is still considered questionable to play Week 1.