The Los Angeles Rams remain on the road but head back to the West Coast to oppose the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16 in what will eventually turn out to be a do-or-die situation as it relates to their playoff chances.
To get a better sense of the rival 49ers, I linked up with Kyle Posey from Niners Nation, the SB Nation community for 49ers fans.
With the recent influx of injuries to the San Francisco 49ers’ roster, has the team adequately replaced the injured starters?
At first, they did but at some point, the “next man up” line goes out of the window. When you lose 17 defensive linemen, that’s the case. It’s pretty incredible that the 49ers are still able to get pressure considering the caliber of players they’ve lost. The starting right guard may not be able to go, which means the backup tackle will have to fill in as the current backup guard is starting at center. It’s been that type of season for injuries, but San Francisco has found a way to overcome the majority of injuries. The team’s depth has been tested seemingly everywhere this season.
What does the current secondary look like as it’s ever-changing? Is the cornerback position settled?
Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams (the teams starting slot cornerback) were full participants and not on the injury report, so that’s good news for San Francisco. The team didn’t have any answers for Julio Jones a week ago. Their starting safety Jaquiski Tartt remains out with broken ribs. He hasn’t played since the beginning of the month against the Ravens. His replacement, Marcell Harris, has filled in admirably. He’s no Tartt, and that has forced defensive coordinator to call more vanilla coverages. I’ll be interested to see how Harris reacts to some of the Rams play-action schemes.
Deebo Samuel seems to have fully translated to the NFL game. Is he a weapon to look out for in this game as the Rams are likely to focus on Emmanuel Sanders and George Kittle?
It should be a big game for Deebo so long as he holds on to the ball. He’s among the league leaders in drops, and that has frustrated many 49ers fans. There is no denying his talent, though. He’s a tank with the ball in his hands and he runs like a running back. He’s also a lot faster than he timed in the 40 and that has led to big plays. If Troy Hill can’t go, I’d expect Samuel to have one of his better games of the season.
The running back spot seems to be a “which flavor of ice cream” situation. What does that situation currently look like, and has any one of the three separated themselves as the clear bellcow moving forward?
Lately, it’s been the Raheem Mostert show, and for good reason. Every running back is fast and capable of breaking a long run, but Mostert is the best of all worlds. He’s not just a world-class speedster, but he has patience, balance, and strength the other two backs don’t. He’s made the most(ert?) of his opportunities and Kyle Shannahan has said so himself. Breida has been banged up, and Coleman inconsistent. Coleman is the best pass blocking back and has been in on obvious third downs. I’d expect Shanahan to try and run it heavily in this game.
The defense absolutely stifled the Rams in the first contest. Do you expect the defensive line to replicate their performance against a revamped and struggling offensive line?
I don’t believe they’ll be as dominant as the first time, but San Francisco should have plenty of success upfront, judging how the Rams looked against the Cowboys. Teams have given Bosa more attention and that’s hurt his numbers. But both he and Arik Armstead have found ways to produce, despite the extra attention. This wouldn’t be a bad time for DeForest Buckner to have a special performance, as he’s been quiet lately. PFF credited Buckner with eight pressures against Atlanta, but it doesn’t feel like he’s had much of an impact the past few weeks. The Rams offensive line could be just what the doctor ordered. The goal should be to harrass Goff and make him uncomfortable. Don’t be surprised if the 49ers have an extra chip on their shoulder after a letdown loss last week.
Thank you to Kyle for his time.