NFC West Notes: Rams, Keenum, Cards

Case Keenum has performed well enough during the preseason to earn the Rams‘ starting quarterback job over No. 1 pick Jared Goff, argues Vincent Bosnignore of the Los Angeles Daily News. The duo’s stats aren’t all the different — Keenum has 10 of 13 attempts for 111 yards and a touchdown, while Goff is 12 of 21 for 121 yards, one score, and one interception — but Goff has struggled with snaps and penalties while Keenum has shown a command of the Los Angeles offense. Additionally, says Bonsignore in a few follow-up tweets, the Rams could be competitive in 2016 thanks to their defense and running game, so Keenum makes more sense for the club right now rather than Goff, who will need some time to develop.

Let’s check out a few more notes from the NFC West:

  • Cardinals linebacker Shaq Riddick has a torn oblique and is facing an uncertain timetable, Josh Weinfuss of tweets. Riddick didn’t play a single snap after being selected in the fifth-round of the 2015 draft, and wasn’t even on the gameday active roster until December. However, Arizona has expressed faith in Riddick (and the club’s other young edge rushers), and had refrained from re-signing Dwight Freeney in the hopes of handing more snaps to its more youthful players. Riddick isn’t the only Cards defender dealing with an injury, as fellow linebacker Alex Okafor is set to play through a biceps tear.
  • Once roster cutdowns begin over the course of the next few weeks, the Cardinals could be looking for help at cornerback, offensive tackle, and linebacker, according to Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910 (Twitter link). Linebacker is an obvious area of need given the injuries to Riddick and Okafor, and Arizona’s depth at corner is depleted, even when counting its recent signings of Mike Jenkins (who is hurt) and Alan Ball. Swing tackle is another area of concern, and the Cards have been linked to free agent Will Beatty.
  • Former first-round pick Jimmie Ward, who spent his first two seasons with the 49ers as a reserve safety and nickel corner, is likely to be San Francisco’s starting outside corner opposite Tramaine Brock, writes Matt Maiocco of“It’s looking that way right now,” said 49ers defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil. “He hasn’t really been tested in a game, yet. But he’s done a great job in the three practices we’ve had with other teams and the two preseason games.” Ward played on roughly 65% of San Francisco’s defensive snaps a year ago, and should see that percentage rise as he takes on a larger role.
  • In case you missed it, PFR spoke with Will Leitch about the Cardinals‘ offseason and the season ahead.
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