NFC West: What to make of polarizing backs like Todd Gurley, Carlos Hyde, Eddie Lacy

Carlos Hyde scored nine of his 16 career touchdowns in 2016, but he has missed 14 games in three seasons. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Four franchises at some level of a crossroads inhabit the NFC West, as half the division’s teams changed head coaches and key coordinators, three new kickers were brought in -- always a sure sign of turmoil! -- and all four teams figure they can improve from 2016, which might actually be true. After all, this was the league’s worst division with only 23 combined wins. The Seattle Seahawks were the lone team to win more than it lost, but the defense underachieved, internal strife wasn’t a secret and if things don’t improve, more significant changes could be pending. And that’s the division winner.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals seem to be running out of time with the current and still capable quarterback-wide receiver combination, while the Los Angeles Rams really don’t know if their quarterback is good enough and the San Francisco 49ers simply got rid of their passers from 2016, and might do so again next offseason. Plus, the Rams and 49ers have offense-minded head coaches now running things, one of them younger than some of the team’s players. Should be interesting!

So let’s delve deeper into the interesting NFC West, where change was a common theme and more should be coming. The NFC East, NFC North and NFC South have been covered and next week we head to the AFC!