GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01: Runningback Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes the football against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Seahawks 23-20 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The NFC West struggled mightily outside of the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, and their divisional rivals have a lot to work on and consider this offseason, leading up to free agency and the 2012 NFL Draft. For more on the 49ers, visit Niners Nation. You can also check out Field Gulls for Seahawks coverage, Turf Show Times for Rams coverage, or Revenge of the Birds for our Cardinals blog.
While the San Francisco 49ers continue their march toward the Super Bowl with a spot in the NFC Championship game, the rest of the NFC West is working on getting ready for free agency and the 2012 NFL Draft. The 2011 season began with most favoring the St. Louis Rams to take the division by way of a young, talented roster. More than that, the fact that the Rams had their "franchise" quarterback in Sam Bradford was the big reason they were pegged as winners.
Instead, the Rams finished the season tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the worst record in the NFL, while the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks were rather terrible for a good portion of the year. The latter two did pick it up at the end of the season, though, which may have saved the jobs of their coaching staffs, respectively. Their seasons ended in Week 17, none of them sniffing the playoffs in any way, regardless of what any last second scenarios may have reflected. Below, a look at their offseasons to date.
St. Louis Rams (2-14)
After leading the Rams to a record of 10-38 over three seasons, the team cut ties with head coach Steve Spagnuolo. Shortly after, they parted ways with general manager Billy Devaney. The team then went on to pursue Jeff Fisher heavily, and almost lost him to the Miami Dolphins, but thanks to the abrasiveness and unwillingness for compromise of Stephen Ross, Fisher joined up with the Rams. He's since added Gregg Williams and is reportedly pursuing Brian Schottenheimer as his coordinators.
Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
Not a lot has happened with the Cardinals this offseason, with no major changes to their coaching staff. Their defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, may not return, but that's all up in the air as he has interviews with other teams. He was briefly linked to the job in St. Louis. Key coaches in Russ Grimm and Freddie Kitchens re-signed with the team, but the big news is really about the quarterback position. John Skelton played significantly better than Kevin Kolb in 2011, and comes at a significantly lower price. Arizona will have to decide who they're going with, or even if the answer is one of those two.
Seattle Seahawks (7-9)
The Seahawks have had an even quieter offseason than Arizona. They too have concerns about quarterback, but it's not because they might have more than one option available. Tarvaris Jackson is essentially the only guy for them, and they've played themselves out of position to draft one of the big names in the 2012 NFL Draft. On top of that, Marshawn Lynch is set to hit free agency and that could be a huge loss if Seattle doesn't retain his services.