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Rams vs. 49ers: Is Chris Long ready to break out?

St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long has struggled lately, but he could be poised for some big numbers this week.


St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long is struggling lately, and he knows it. Nobody is harder on themselves or more open about their struggles than the veteran defensive end who hasn't had a sack in his last two games, both losses for the Rams.

Long talked about his self-evaluation in an interview with 95.7 The Game in San Francisco on Friday:

I certainly fell into some of my sacks last year and this year I probably missed four or five of them. Everybody always wants to put the weight on that number. I'm just real honest about the way I am playing. I don't want to lie to the media. I think I am playing good ball, outstanding ball. ... I've worked and prepared as hard and harder than ever in my career and I'll just continue to grind away.

He also talked about his Hall of Fame father:

Growing up watching my dad play, sometimes I didn't really understand the magnitude of what was going on 'cause my dad always tried to hammer home that he wasn't anything special. He's just my dad and football just happened to be what he does, and as a kid I just took his word for it. I knew he played football on Sundays. I didn't know how big of a deal it was.

It wasn't until I was older I was able to step back and say, ‘Hey, he was a hell of a player.' I always knew he was a hell of a guy, but as a player he was just amazing, too. For me, football just kind of happened.

I didn't necessarily always plan on playing in the NFL, but when I started realizing I was going to be good enough, I just made the commitment to work as hard as I could and, hey, he's a Hall of Famer. I will be probably never match up to that, but I'm working as hard as I can and enjoying it.

Long went through a slump last season too, in Weeks 4-7 (including a bye) in which he did not record a sack. Every player struggles at times. In his first game after that three-game skid, Long broke out for three sacks. In the Rams' Week 13 game against the Niners last year, Long had a pair of sacks. In both games against San Francisco last year, Long had a total of 11 pressures.