NFC Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks

49ers

49ers QB Trey Lance wasn’t happy with his first performance as a starter and knows there are plenty of things he needs to work on ahead of Week 2.

“I made too many mistakes,” Lance said, via 49ersWebzone.com. “The defense kept us in the game. Had a big miss to Tyler Kroft in the end zone. Tried to throw a perfect ball, should have just put it right on him and he was wide open. Turned the ball over, and took a sack that knocked us out of field goal range that I shouldn’t have. Missed Deebo on a third down. Missed another third down to Jauan. Just too many mistakes. A lot of stuff to clean up for sure for me.”

The team doesn’t hold Lance solely responsible for the errors and added that the playing conditions were not ideal for their second-year starter.

Absolutely not,” OT Mike McGlinchey said. “Not in those conditions. I would never hold any of that against him. But as for our performance as a team, the game shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place.

49ers LT Trent Williams said the team needs to cut down on the penalties and mental errors in order to compete in ball games.

It’s hard enough to play against the opposing team,” Williams said. “It’s even harder when you play against yourself. I have been playing football a long time. Any game that I could remember where we had close to 100 yards in penalties, we had two turnovers, especially one in scoring range in the red zone, it generally never turns out that well.

Cardinals

Cardinals TE Zach Ertz believes the team needs to react properly and go through a process of self-evaluation after the blowout loss to the Chiefs.

Everything is put under a microscope in this league, and with a performance like that, it should be,” Ertz said, via Darren Urban of the team’s official website. “Everything needs to be dissected. We have to be critical of ourselves, the coaches are going to be very critical of themselves, and we just have to find a way to be better.

Cardinals LB Isaiah Simmons said the team didn’t step up to the challenge and will work on making adjustments this week.

We didn’t play to our highest capability,” Simmons said. “There were a lot of details we may have lacked, but other than that, I think our guys played hard. It’s only Week 1, so we’ve got to get back to the drawing board.

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray was a little more blunt in the evaluation of the team.

They kicked our ass,” Murray said. “We did not execute in the moments we needed to, and that’s what happens.

Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury defended his decision making and going for touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.

You can’t kick field goals against them,” Kingsbury said. “We were going to be aggressive.

Rams

Rams HC Sean McVay spoke to the media following the team’s loss to the Bills and reiterated QB Matthew Stafford‘s struggles were not a result of an elbow issue.

“I spoke to him,” McVay told reporters, via Pro Football Talk. “It felt OK. There were a lot of things that didn’t go our way yesterday for a lot of different reasons which I mentioned to you guys after the game. But he came out of that thing feeling good. He took obviously some shots, but the elbow felt OK.”

“Matthew’s got such high standards, as we do for him and as he does of himself, that there were some plays that I’m sure he’ll want back,” McVay added. “But I think that’s how it’ll be for any quarterback when you’re at the level that he is or Josh Allen. So there are things that I expect us to be able to play better collectively, starting with me and then overall execution-wise. But I thought as far as just the overall [throwing] motion, I didn’t necessarily think that was affected. I thought maybe just some of the spots where he is getting moved or getting hit, not being able to finish his motion as a result of just some of the pressure, or different things that are pushing him off his spot, might have affected some of the overall accuracies snap in and snap out. But as far as just the mechanics from an elbow perspective, I didn’t sense that was any sort of issue.”

Seahawks

Seahawks QB Geno Smith is set to open the season as the starter tonight for the first time since 2014. It’s the kind of second chance guys like Smith, who struggled early in his career and earned a label as a backup, don’t often get. 

“This chance means everything to me,” Smith said via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “As a person who entrenched his life into this game, I mean really put my life into this game, it’s an incredible story. Hero gets knocked down, nobody thinks he’ll get back up, and he gets up and gets another shot.”

Smith’s choice of metaphor isn’t a coincidence. He was infamously punched by a teammate with the Jets in a locker room dispute before the 2015 season. The hit broke his jaw and sidelined him for weeks. By the time he returned, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick had run away with the job. 

“The incident happened with the jaw, and I was out,” he said. “Once that happened, everything was up in the air. Ryan took over, played well, and the fans rallied behind him. The next year, I tore my ACL. Injuries and bad luck just kept happening at the wrong time.”

Smith bounced around a couple of teams as a backup before landing with Seattle, and now after beating Drew Lock for the starting job, he thinks he can finally hold onto it. 

“I like my chances,” Smith said. “Interestingly enough, this offense is a lot like the one I ran my last two years at West Virginia. This is a mixture of West Coast and different concepts. I’m comfortable with it.”

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