NFC West Notes: Cardinals, 49ers, Rams

     

Cardinals

The Cardinals went heavy on drafting receivers for HC Kliff Kingsbury‘s first year bringing his Air Raid offense to the NFL, taking Andy Isabella in the second round, Hakeem Butler in the fourth and KeeSean Johnson in the sixth. None carved out consistent playing time in their first year, leading Kingsbury to not rule out dipping into the receiver pool again in 2020. 

“I think it’s on us as a coaching staff to maximize who we have regardless of what it is,” Kingsbury said via Darren Urban of the team website. “This is a wideout-heavy draft. There’s no doubt there’re some great players at that position, but we have to take the best player that makes us better immediately and has the biggest impact for the organization.”

  • According to Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic, the Cardinals have likely let go of defensive assistant Chris Wilson, assistant WR coach Peter Badovinac and assistant strength coach Vernon Stephens.

49ers

After losing his starting job due to injury, 49ers CB Ahkello Witherspoon appeared to lose it again due to performance in San Francisco’s regular-season finale against Seattle. Witherspoon was replaced by CB Emmanuel Moseley in the fourth quarter after giving up what looked like his second touchdown pass. But 49ers DC Robert Saleh said looks can be deceiving and Witherspoon will start this weekend against the Vikings. 

“When you look at it from a surface level, it’s very easy to see. It’s easy, right: There’s Ahkello and there’s a guy catching the football,” Saleh said via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “But people don’t really understand what happened. … Ahkello, when you actually go back and look at that tape, played a pretty good football game. There are a couple of situations where he got caught in a bad situation. … To say he played a poor game against Seattle, I’ll be honest with all of you, would be inaccurate.”

Witherspoon, for his part, wasn’t happy with his performance, calling it average. 

“And I’m not an average player,” Witherspoon said. “So that’s a poor game for me. Just little things that just don’t need to happen.”

  • Per NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco, 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan said the team will have some kind of snap count for LB Kwon Alexander in his first game back from a torn pec: “I know Kwon will fly around. He’ll hit. He’ll be energetic. He’ll get everyone going. I think everyone will feel his energy on the field. And we’ll see how it goes.”
  • Shanahan said he fully expects Saleh to land a head-coaching at some point in the near future: “Whether it’s this year or next year. Saleh is too good, too unique. It’s a matter of time before he’s a head coach.” (Cam Inman)

Rams

  • According to NFL Media’s Jane Slater, the Rams are interested in hiring Texas RB coach Stan Drayton to the same position. 
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