49ers vs. Rams: St. Louis CBs performing well below expectations as San Francisco WRs return

Andy Lyons

The St. Louis Rams looked to have a solid group of cornerbacks heading into this season. That hasn't ... worked out very well.

Prior to the start of the 2013-14 season, I ran a series of posts ranking the individual positions within the NFC West. It was a fun series, and many jimmies were effectively rustled as a bonus. Our San Francisco 49ers obviously did very well in the rankings, and I don't think that has anything t do with me being a fan. Looking back, a couple things stick out to me, though.

The first is that the Arizona Cardinals were either underrated or they're presently over-performing. The second is that I may have messed up my rankings of the cornerbacks. I placed the Seattle Seahawks first on that list -- apparent pharmaceutical issues notwithstanding -- and I believe that was a good spot for them. And I had the 49ers in last place, with the Cardinals in third and the St. Louis Rams in second.

Cortland Finnegan, while a bastard-coated bastard with bastard filling, was a well-regarded corner coming into this season and Janoris Jenkins was clearly on the up-and-up from the No. 2 spot. Those two looked better than Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown on paper.

Now, the 49ers' secondary is over-performing ... again. I think a lot of people missed just how good they were a season ago, and I've never been more happy to admit I was wrong about a player at this point (Tramaine Brock). While the Rams ... well the Rams are a mess.

Finnegan was injured off and on all season and is now on injured reserve as of about five days ago. When he was on the field, he looked like he'd regressed in a big way. Jenkins, on the other hand, just doesn't look ready to assume the No. 1 cornerback role. The Rams are among the worst teams in the league when it comes to defending No. 1 receivers.

So who will that actually be on Sunday? Will it be Michael Crabtree, or Anquan Boldin? Either way, both players could perform well against Jenkins and if Mario Manningham is on the field and healthy (as he should be, obviously), continued improvement in the passing game should be expected.

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