NFC West Notes: Cardinals, 49ers, Rams, Seahawks



The Cardinals took WR Hakeem Butler in the fourth round as the second of three rookie receivers they would draft in 2019. However, Butler played the least of the three, as an avulsion fracture put him on injured reserve before the season started. While Butler said he tried to learn as much as he could from Hall of Fame WR Larry Fitzgerald — and plans to soak up everything he can from new arrival WR DeAndre Hopkins — he wasn’t allowed to practice with the team, which made his rookie season hard. 

“The hardest thing was rehabbing and sitting out as a whole,” Butler said via Darren Urban of the team website. “I come from Iowa State where I was ‘The Man.’ … I come in here, and it’s like, ‘Bro, you can’t even go practice.’ I just felt like a little kid and your mom is like, ‘You can’t go outside today.'”

  • While Cardinals DL Zach Allen didn’t elaborate on his neck injury, he did say he was having issues with strength in there. He was nearing a return before suffering a setback in practice and going on injured reserve. (Urban)



  • Rice OT Justin Gooseberry had a virtual meeting with the Rams. Gooseberry is seen as a late-round pick or priority undrafted free agent. (Aaron Wilson)


Ordinarily having a pair of players like Seahawks RBs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny at the top of the depth chart would be more than enough to consider the position a strength. However, both players are coming off season-ending injuries from 2019 — a fractured hip for Carson and a severe ACL injury for Penny. While the Seahawks are expected to explore contingency plans, OC Brian Schottenheimer offered some positivity toward their return in 2020. 

“I feel really good about both of those guys coming back,” Schottenheimer said in an interview with Sports Radio 950 KJR. “Obviously, they both had significant injuries. Chris has been through some injuries before. I think it was his rookie year before I got here he had the leg fracture. I think he’ll be great. It sounds like they’re doing well when we get our updates from those guys.”

Early reports for Carson have been positive, as a fracture is a relatively simple injury to recover from. However, Penny’s outlook has been much murkier. There was additional damage besides his torn ACL and the Seahawks haven’t put a timetable on his return. Starting the season on the PUP list is a real possibility, which is a major blow to the former first-round pick who was just starting to blossom before the injury. But Schottenheimer thinks in the long run it will help Penny. 

“Rashaad (is) a guy that really hasn’t had to deal with that adversity before but I think that we really saw him mature last year,” Schottenheimer said. “He was really playing terrific football for us. We saw a difference with just the way he practiced, the way he prepared. Nobody wants to see their players get injured but the injury happened at a time where he was really kind of peaking and feeling great about himself and maturing as a young man and as a football player and I think that’s just going to lead into him having a terrific rehab as well.”

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