NFC Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks, Jamal Adams


49ers GM John Lynch said they must find ways to get WR Brandon Aiyuk involved but that he hasn’t “made the strides we expect” up to this point. 

“The bottom line is we each have to find a way — I’m talking we as a team and Brandon as a player — because for us to get where we want to get, we need his talent and abilities on the field,” Lynch said, via Cam Inman of the Mercury News. “Having said that, it’s important you earn your opportunities. You do that during the week. It’s not as if Brandon isn’t working hard. For whatever reason, he hasn’t made the strides we expect him to. We probably hold him to higher standards because he has so much in his body.”

Although Lynch said he felt encouraged by performance in 2020, he added that Aiyuk must “take that next step” with his development. 

“That gives you hope, because it’s in there, no doubt about it,” Lynch said. “But it’s time to take that next step. And that’s incumbent on everyone, so we need to get that accomplished.”

When asked if Aiyuk needs to be more involved in the offense, Lynch responded there’s “no doubt” that the receiver must produce. 

“There’s no doubt about it. He’s a very talented young man and a hard worker, as well. We’ve gone to great lengths to explain kind of what the predicament is right now.”

Lynch wants to see Aiyuk’s explosiveness come through on the field. 

“We need that explosiveness in that offense,” Lynch said. “That starts this week, it starts every day. It’s important he figures that out. We need to do better there.”

  • The Athletic’s Jeff Howe says 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo thought he was close to playing last Friday, so he should be in good shape to start in Week 7 against the Colts when San Francisco returns from their bye. 


  • Dan Graziano reports that the Cardinals have had three positive COVID-19 tests this week, which has led to increased testing for several players and personnel.
  • Graziano adds that “one more positive test” would move the team into “intensive protocols.” 


Rams HC Sean McVay spoke on the situation with former Raiders HC Jon Gruden. McVay, notably, was a receivers assistant under Gruden back in 2008 with the Buccaneers. 

“It’s really an unfortunate situation that’s gone on with the Raiders and coach Gruden,” McVay said, via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN. “Hated that so many people have been negatively affected by this, thoughts and prayers are with all those people that are, and really just want to leave it at that.”

McVay added that he came away surprised by Gruden’s explicit language based on his relationship with the former coach. 

“All I know is I can only speak on my individual interactions with him,” McVay said. “I haven’t seen any of those types of things that you would expect, that kind of stuff to come out in writing or whatever. We are responsible for the things that we do say, but I have not seen that side of him and I was surprised by that.”


The Seahawks’ decision to make a massive trade for S Jamal Adams drew some criticism at the time for being too much of an investment for a safety who couldn’t cover. Unfortunately for Seattle, Adams made that look prescient with his performance last Thursday night, getting burned prominently twice in a loss to the Rams. Seahawks HC Pete Carroll acknowledged the scrutiny while defending Adams. 

“I think for anybody that is highly compensated, you guys are going to take a good look at him and maybe give him a second look or a third look about what’s up,” Carroll said via ESPN’s Brady Henderson. “He’s playing his butt off, he’s running and hitting and doing all that stuff. He got in a really awkward, unusual situation on an underthrow [Thursday] night and then he got beat on a one-on-one.”

“We would have loved for him to have won the one-on-one,” Carroll added. “Those are hard and they ran it well and timed it well and did a nice job and they got him. The other play was just a screwball, in-the-park play and he wasn’t able to find a way to get to the ball like he needed to.”

Adams set an NFL record for sacks by a defensive back last year but has been surprisingly underutilized in that area so far in 2021. Carroll says that while they wanted to diversify Adams’ responsibilities now that he had more experience in the scheme, blitzing him less wasn’t the goal. 

“It was just to expand what we were doing to utilize his skills, which he’s doing a really good job of,” Carroll said. “He had a bunch of really good plays [Thursday] night where the ball doesn’t get thrown because he covered the guy, took the concept away. You wouldn’t even know. So he’s doing some good stuff.”

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