NFC West Notes: 49ers, Rams, Seahawks

49ers

49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is bullish on the team’s pass rush for the 2018 season after they totaled just 30 sacks last year.

San Francisco brought in Chris Kiffin as a pass rush specialist, who has been working with DL coach Jeff Zgonina.

“They’ve identified some stuff that’s going to be a cool dynamic,” Saleh said, via 49ers.com. “I think we’re going to be much further along pass rush wise.

I’m really excited for Year 2. I think we have a chance to build on what we did a year ago. I’m excited for the front four. I believe Solomon [Thomas] is going to take a big jump. I think Arik [Armstead] was really starting to come on before he got hurt.

Rams

Rams new CB Aqib Talib explained that DC Wade Phillips has opened up the defense since they were together with the Broncos a few years ago.

“It was the same defense but we called less stuff,” Talib told Robert Klemko of TheMMQB.com. “Wade really had it wide open, and it wasn’t as open in 2017. It was like the beginning stages of Wade. It was new to this coach, so things were less disguised with fewer calls. If 40 calls were available to us in a game in 2016, we had half of that last season.”

The Rams are likely to employ less man-to-man coverage than Talib and Marcus Peters were use to, but overall Talib says not much is different.

“It’s not too much different,” Talib said. “Wade’s going to run his defense. He may switch things up depending on his personnel, but he’s been the same on defense everywhere he’s been.

Seahawks

Veteran CB Richard Sherman tells Robert Klemko of TheMMQB.com that the way things came to end for the Seahawks’ defense was “really unfortunate.

“It’s just unfortunate. It’s really unfortunate,” Sherman said. “I think it’ll all come out when they do the 30 for 30. Mistakes and poor judgment on things ruined what could have been a really special deal. You don’t have much left right now. And to say you’re not going to pay Earl Thomas is just … There’s no decline in play there. He’s played the game the right way. Who do you have to pay? You have the two best linebackers in the game. You have the quarterback. You have a great wide receiver in Doug [Baldwin]. And you’re paying Duane Brown.”

Sherman believes Seattle “lost their way” and dug themselves in a hole.

“They’ve lost their way. It’s as simple as that. They’ve just lost their way,” Sherman said. “When you make too many mistakes over a long period of time, you kind of dig yourself a hole. And then when you backtrack, you gotta make a bunch of rash decisions to try and fill the hole and hope that it holds up.

“When we were rolling it was an environment for pure competitors. When it becomes something else, then it’s more difficult to thrive in, and I think that’s what was tough on Earl, that’s what was tough on a lot of guys. But I think as it kind of progressed, you start seeing the writing on the wall. You’re like, ‘Not only are they probably moving in a different direction,’ but it’s like, ‘Ah, well, I kind of want to move in a different direction, too.’ So it happens like that. All great things must come to an end, I guess.

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