NFC West Notes: Aldon Smith, Rams, Lynch

The Rams lost again yesterday, falling to 3-6 on the season and further deflating any long-shot playoff hopes they may have had. Things are getting interesting elsewhere in the NFC West though, with the Cardinals, Seahawks, and 49ers all picking up Week 10 victories. At 8-1, Arizona leads the way, but it looks as if the team will be without starting quarterback Carson Palmer the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, last year’s NFC Championship participants, Seattle and San Francisco, remain firmly in playoff contention, but don’t have an easy path to the postseason by any means. At the moment, the 7-3 Cowboys and 6-3 Seahawks project as the NFC’s Wild Card teams, with the 6-3 Packers and 5-4 49ers on the outside looking in.

Let’s round up a few items out of the NFC West to start the week….

  • NFLPA executive VP George Atallah tells Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports that 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith “fulfilled all of his obligations to be considered to return from his suspension early.” However, the NFL elected not to reinstate Smith until he served his full nine-game suspension. Garafalo suggests we can expect to hear more on this issue this week, since Smith’s camp and the NFLPA aren’t pleased that the linebacker wasn’t reinstated a week or two early, as had been rumored.
  • The Rams‘ defense came into yesterday’s game in Arizona thin at cornerback, and the club’s depth took another hit when nickel back Lamarcus Joyner left with a groin injury, writes Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see St. Louis make a roster move or two this week to shore up the position.
  • It’s viewed as a fait accompli by some observers that Marshawn Lynch won’t be back with the Seahawks next season due to his age, contract, and possible off-field concerns, but performances like yesterday’s four-touchdown romp show how important he is to the club, says Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
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