NFC Notes: Cardinals, 49ers, Rams

     

Cardinals

The Cardinals outbid the rest of the pack for DE J.J. Watt with the goal of him being a major impact player for them in 2021. That doesn’t mean he’ll be an every-down player. In fact, Cardinals DC Vance Joseph envisions a strong rotation to keep Watt fresh and allow him to take over in high-leverage situations. 

“Hopefully we can have a nice rotation with Zach Allen, Rashard Lawrence and Leki Fotu,” Joseph said in a radio interview via SI.com’s Howard Balzer. “We’ve got a bunch of good young players who need the reps. I think having those young players behind him and convincing J.J. that quality is going to be better for us than quantity will be impactful for the defense.”

Joseph admitted putting that plan into practice will be a bit more of a challenge. 

“It’s going to be a chore to pull J.J. back,” he said. “We’re going to have a plan for him to understand to give some of those snaps to Zach. If we can get him on the field on critical downs — the third downs especially, the second-and-longs, the firsts of the series — those are going to help him stay healthy and be fresh for later in the season.”

49ers

49ers’ veteran LT Trent Williams had high praise of WR Deebo Samuel and said the receiver has become one of his favorite players to watch based on his athleticism. 

“I don’t know about (being) on the level of freakish athleticism, but Deebo is one of my favorite players, too,” Williams said, via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports. “Because I feel he possesses something I don’t really see in a lot of people.”

Fellow 49ers’ veteran Richard Sherman, who is also an impending free agent, said Samuel seeks contact similarly to running backs to gain more yards.

“It’s something you definitely never see in receivers,” Sherman said. “You see it sometimes in running backs. But he’s just a hunter for contact, and he always thinks he’s getting through it. He’s not just hunting just to run you over. He’s hunting because, ‘I think I can run you over and I can keep on going.’”

Williams added that he spoke to Samuel about his ability to play through contact as a receiver. 

I told him my first week there,” Williams said. “I’m like, ‘Bro, I ain’t never seen anything like that.’ He’s got contact balance that’s out of this world.”

Rams

In the Rams’ pre-free agency press conference, GM Les Snead addressed their current cap situation and mentioned that he’s approached several “key figures” about restructuring contracts. 

“We’ve had to knock on the door of a lot of our key figures, key pillars and ask them to in some cases make sacrifices, in some cases adjust their contract to help us get under the cap. The vision right now is to get to the finish line without having to release players,” Snead said, via the team’s official Youtube. “With that being said, we’re well aware we’ve had to have some calls with a subset of our unrestricted free agents and restricted free agents and let them know our intent — whether we were going to be attempting to re-sign them or assuming they’e going to have a better market than what we would be able to pay and allowing them to know their path and how they need to move forward.

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