NFC Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Rams


  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe highlights the 49ers’ bye in Week 6 as a logical place to make the switch at quarterback from Jimmy Garoppolo to first-round rookie Trey Lance, assuming Garoppolo struggles to start the season and Lance doesn’t win the job in camp. 
  • The Athletic’s David Lombardi expects a healthy Jason Verrett to be the 49ers’ No. 1 corner. At the No. 2 spot, third-round rookie Ambry Thomas will challenge Emmanuel Moseley for the starting gig. 
  • The Athletic’s Matt Barrows writes the 49ers were thrilled to get S Talanoa Hufanga in the fifth round and think at a minimum he should be an outstanding special teamer as a rookie. 
  • Lombardi adds the 49ers secondary is going to undergo a shift over the next couple of seasons as it retools and 2021 is the first year of that with the addition of Thomas, Hufanga and fifth-round CB Deommodore Lenoir, who could potentially take over at nickel corner for K’Waun Williams
  • Although Verrett is over 30, Lombardi doesn’t rule out the 49ers re-signing him to a decent deal if he stays healthy and has another strong season in 2021. 


Hall of Fame inductee RB Edgerrin James said he enjoyed his three years with the Arizona Cardinals from 2006-2008 despite it being a “high-risk situation” at the time. 

“I can’t say my time with the Cardinals wasn’t big-time,” James said, via Darren Urban of the team’s official site. “I enjoyed my time with the Cardinals. The thing about going to the Cardinals and the thing I appreciated the most was a lot of people wouldn’t have taken that chance to go to a team that wasn’t doing well, a high-risk situation.”

James reiterated his pride in signing with the Cardinals and helping them reach Super Bowl XLIII in 2009. 

“But I take pride in the decision that I made, knowing we turned that program around. We took that team to the Super Bowl. I don’t think anybody anticipated that. When you look at everything the Cardinals had in place, it was an easy decision for myself. I always appreciated Mr. (Bill) Bidwill, (GM) Rod Graves and all those guys, because it wasn’t something that was easy, but everybody came together. We came together and we were very close to winning the Super Bowl. That means a lot.”


The trade for QB Matthew Stafford has generated a ton of optimism around the Rams’ status as major contenders entering the 2021 season. Some skeptics remain, though, including elsewhere in the NFC West. 

“I like Stafford, but they still will have the same players that he’ll be throwing the ball to,” 49ers S Jimmie Ward told Grant Cohn of He’s the same quarterback who was on the Detroit Lions and they still didn’t go to the playoffs, and they had Megatron [Calvin Johnson]. What was the problem over there in Detroit? Are you going to blame the city? What was the problem? Was it the money? If they city didn’t have enough money to bring players over there, why even have an NFL team? That’s a big question mark.”

Ward pointed out that while Stafford is seen as a major upgrade to previous Rams starter Jared Goff, the latter has a much better playoff record. 

“They went and traded Jared Goff, who went to the playoffs several times and went to the Super Bowl,” he said. “Yeah, he lost. He went to the Super Bowl, though. I’ve yet to see that with Matt Stafford. And I’m saying, he’s still great. I believe he’s a top 10 quarterback, maybe top 5. I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m just going off of what I see. And I see Jared Goff got those boys to the Super Bowl.”

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