How I See It: NFC West Stock Watch


1. Troy Smith, 49ers QB. The 49ers have lost two of their past three games after winning Smith's first two starts. Smith's play has fallen off quite a bit. Tight end Vernon Davis could have helped Smith by holding onto the deep pass he dropped against Green Bay, but the overall offensive consistency hasn't been there. The 49ers have converted only 29.5 percent of their third-down chances in five games with Smith at quarterback.

2. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cardinals CB. The Cardinals expected more from their young Pro Bowl cornerback. Rodgers-Cromartie expected more as well. He has been critical of his own play. His stock fell further Sunday when officials flagged Rodgers-Cromartie for a procedural penalty. Rodgers-Cromartie had drawn an interference penalty deep down the field while working as a wide receiver. The penalties offset, depriving the Cardinals of a long gain.

3. Leon Washington, Seahawks returner. An 84-yard punt return would generally pump up a player's stock value, but not in Washington's case. Carolina punter Jason Baker tripped up Washington short of the goal line after Washington began celebrating prematurely. Washington also muffed the kickoff to open the second half, forcing Seattle to take over at its 4. The Panthers even sacked Washington when the team attempted to execute a halfback pass. Washington's stock value remains high overall, but it took a hit Sunday.


1. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks RB. Three rushing touchdowns gave Lynch a boost just when it appeared as though the Seattle running game would never get out of neutral. Lynch finished the game with 83 yards, his second-highest total of the season. His 22-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter put away Carolina.

2. Alex Smith, 49ers QB. The 49ers are giving Alex Smith one final chance to make a positive impression heading into the offseason. Nine touchdowns and three interceptions over the final four games would give Smith the same totals he amassed last season: 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 11 games. Smith went 5-5 as a starter last season. He's 1-6 this season.

3. Josh Brown, Rams K. There were other candidates worthy of consideration in this spot, including Brown's former teammate in Seattle, Lofa Tatupu. Brown was the choice after making all four field goal tries during a 19-6 victory over the Cardinals. Brown's consistency had wavered this season. He had missed from inside 30 yards for the first time in his career. He had missed twice from 30 to 39 yards, a first for Brown in one season. Making all four against Arizona, including one from 52 yards, should give Brown a boost heading into the final four games.