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Rams Week 6 preview: 5 questions with Niners Wire...

October 17, 2020 06:02AM
Rams Week 6 preview: 5 questions with Niners Wire

[theramswire.usatoday.com]

Cameron DaSilva


The Rams open up their NFC West schedule on Sunday night with the first of six divisional matchups the rest of the way. They’ll travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers, who have dropped their last two games.

It’s been an encouraging start for Los Angeles, on the other hand, with the Rams seeking their fifth win of the season.

To catch up on everything that’s gone on with the 49ers, we chatted with Niners Wire editor Kyle Madson before this Week 6 tilt.

1

Besides injuries, what’s gone so wrong for the 49ers this season?

It’s honestly impossible to say because everything comes back to how injured they are. They’ve started 5 different CB combos in 5 games and haven’t had either of their Week 1 starters since Week 3, and they’ve had to dip into their practice squad to find starters at corner and at defensive end. It’s been a disaster.

One theme in all of their losses is poor quarterback play. Jimmy Garoppolo missed a lot of throws in Week 1, and wound up sitting the second half in Week 5 after struggling through the first half on a bum ankle. In Week 4, backup QB Nick Mullens got the start and played so poorly he got demoted to the No. 3 QB spot on the depth chart. A lot of San Francisco’s issues will get cured with some modicum of health, but ultimately it won’t matter unless whoever’s under center plays better.

2

Without Richard Sherman, is this secondary much easier for the Rams to attack?

The 49ers’ secondary is definitely worse with Sherman not on the field. However, they’ll get starting corner Emmanuel Moseley back this week after he missed two games with a concussion. He’ll line up across from Jason Verrett who’s finally healthy and playing like a former first-round pick. The player L.A. should be going after is nickel corner Jamar Taylor. Starting nickel K’Waun Williams is one of the NFL’s top slot defenders.

Meanwhile, Taylor was re-signed last week after getting released at final roster cuts. The coaching staff has talked him up, but reports from training camp about his play were less glowing. Whether it’s Cooper Kupp or somebody else, I expect Goff to frequently find whoever Taylor is covering.

3

Does San Francisco have the capability to keep Aaron Donald from having 2-3 sacks?

4

The Rams struggled the year after they reached the Super Bowl, and now the 49ers are doing the same. Do you think the hangover effect is real?

If the 49ers were even a little bit healthier I’d say yes. But when a team built around its defense is missing three of its five best defenders by Week 4, it’s hard to point to the Super Bowl as the reason they’re struggling.

They’re without Nick Bosa for the year. Dee Ford hasn’t played since Week 1. Neither has Sherman. Williams went out in Week 4. Garoppolo missed two games and is still dealing with a high ankle sprain. Moseley missed two games. Deebo Samuel missed three games. George Kittle missed two. Raheem Mostert missed two. Kwon Alexander is out this week. And then a slew of replacements for injured players have also gone down.

It’s been a brutal year from an injury standpoint, and that’s played as big of a role in their struggles as any.

5

Who wins on Sunday and what’s your score prediction?

I think San Francisco bounces back from a 43-17 drubbing at the hands of the Dolphins, but I don’t think they win. The 49ers’ offensive line has had a heck of a time pass blocking this year, and that’s not an ideal issue to try and fix with Aaron Donald and his merry band of OL destroyers coming in. On the other side, the 49ers pass rush has been pretty weak without additional blitzers coming from the second level.

That’s something Jared Goff and Sean McVay will take advantage of more than once. A better showing on both sides of the ball will be a good sign for San Francisco, but it won’t be enough against a Rams squad that looks like the best team in the NFC West. Rams 34, 49ers 26
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  Rams Week 6 preview: 5 questions with Niners Wire...

Rams43137October 17, 2020 06:02AM