In Depth: Scouting the NFC West

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In Depth: Scouting the NFC West
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Going into the 2008 season, the Seahawks earned the right to be called the class of the NFC West.

Coming off their fourth consecutive division title, the veteran-laden Hawks again looked capable of a postseason run. But what followed was an injury-marred 4-12 season, highlighted by injuries to quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and a host of wideouts.

The Seahawks look capable again in 2009, but injuries to key veterans on offense could derail the Hawks again.

On paper, the 9-7 Cardinals finished just one game ahead of their 2008 pace. But after coasting the last two weeks of the regular season once clinching the NFC West title, the Cardinals postseason run earned them the NFC Championship.

With changes to their defense and running game in the offseason, the Cards will be players in the NFC yet again.

The Rams appear to be rebuilding under former Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo after a miserable 2008.

St. Louis was largely quiet this offseason, but re-signed key secondary members O.J. Atogwe and Ron Bartell. On offense, Spagnuolo wants the Rams to recommit to Steven Jackson and the running game.

The 49ers are a question mark. The offense improved once Shaun Hill took over at quarterback, and there is talent at the other skill positions. New coordinator Jimmy Raye also wants the 49ers to recommit to the running game, led by Frank Gore.

But the defense must improve its 2008 20th ranking versus the pass, and a minicamp injury to starting cornerback Walt Harris did not help the situation.
It wouldn't be shocking to find anyone among the 49ers, Cardinals, or Seahawks on top in 2009.

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