Alpe d'Huez said:
Wow. Right when the Skins had a chance to take sole posession of first, and show themselves to be the real team in the NFC East, they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and the Cowboys are just one game out of first at 4-8! Could this be the first year a team wins it's division with a 6-10 record?
Speaking of, Blane Gabbert actually played fairly well for the 49ers. Props to the kid after falling so far. Is he their guy for 2016? A knock was he couldn't throw the long ball, but he looked good doing it on Sunday. Some really nice long passes.
The NFC team I would not want to play going into the playoffs is Seattle. Jimmy Graham gave them little, and Luke Wilson has played just as well. Their offense, despite the sacks to RW3 have been very good, and their super talented defense is finally coming together at just the right time. I'm not picking them to win the Super Bowl just yet, but they are 7-5 and I wouldn't be shocked if they go 11-5.
Seattle is coming together in all areas, but most importantly, the O line is finally a unit.
Gabert has played well (better than most expected) so 49ers might not be as desperate for a QB as they thought. Put some more players around Gab and he could be solid (much like Alex Smith who they benched/traded). Did I hear/read that they worked Weeden out?
The last 2 minutes or so of that DAL@WASH game had to be the sloppiest mess I have seen in a while.
Wonder what Kaep thought as Gabbert sprinted in for a 30 or so yard TD run? "Hey I can do that?"
It is hard to replace a Jimmy Graham, but TE Luke Willson is very capable and a better blocker.
SEA's OLine has had issues over the past 2 years with injury at several positions at the same time, but prior to the past 3 games this year has been the most unsettled I have seen them in a long time:
- 3 center changes: Nowak, Lemuel JP, Lewis. Nowak was the week-1 starter. Lem was cut on Aug 31, and later resigned on Oct 20. Nowak was waived on Dec 1. Prior to Nowak's release, both Lem and Lewis shared starting roles in different games.
- After 2nd or 3rd game, RT Britt moved to LG to displace Alvin Bailey, who is still on the roster as a backup. Britt had been struggling in space against speed pass rushers that caused problems for Wilson and the passing game.
- Plugging Garry Gilliam in at RT. Gilliam is much more athletic to handle speed rushers, but still has a lot to learn having played TE at Penn State.
Tom Cable was right though when he said several weeks ago to be patient because the current unit should start to gel about now.
Then the offensive play calling seems to have improved along with the blocking. Plus Russ Wilson has been getting the ball out of his hands quicker (over 3 seconds before the past 2 weeks, and about 1.5 seconds in the past 2 weeks). Don't recall where I saw that stat.
Defensively, SEA has improved with:
- the increased amount of play by rookie DE Frank Clark, who has been nagged with some injuries that limited what he could do, He DNP 3 games and only saw limited time in most of the other games. Clark's increase of reps in the rotation gives guys like Avril and Bennett some much needed rest, which pays off in a lot of ways.
- Getting CB Lane back from injury has helped,
- Parting ways with offseason FA acquisition Cary Williams, who was having trouble with the different techniques used by Seattle, and
- Getting good play at the CB position vacated by Williams' cut from backup 6'2" 220-lb SS Deshaun Shead.
Speaking of SEA offensive play calling, sport news talk in the Seattle area has OC Darrell Bevel's name being mentioned as a candidate for the HC position at BYU.