The 49ers host a struggling St. Louis Rams squad tomorrow in a must-win for the 49ers. The Rams are 0-3 but their head coach Steve Spagnuolo at least has them fighting. In preparation for tomorrow I thought I'd take a few minutes to chat with VanRam of Turf Show Times to get some of his thoughts on his beloved Rams.
NN: It seems like the Rams have been dealing with a lot of injuries. Can we expect to see Kyle Boller starting again this Sunday? What did he show last week that would have you excited or depressed heading into Sunday?
TST: Boller is definitely starting this week. Though he does have a stronger arm than Bulger, he is not as accurate, which may complicate downfield throws...if the Rams take any. Shurmur can script more rollouts into the playbook this week since Boller is more mobile than Bugler. The former Raven can also salvage a few plays with his ability to scramble.
NN: The Rams have struggled out of the gate and are the lowest scoring team in the league thus far. What do Rams point to as signs of optimism for now and looking long term?
TST: We're much better along our offensive line than we have been in the recent past, much better. On offense, I think most fans feel like with the addition of a receiver and a QB we'll have a competitive team for years to come...once we add those pieces. On the other side of ball, the addition of James Laurinaitis at MLB and surprisingly good play from our DBs has improved our defense, add the right player in the draft or free agency to bolster the DL, and we'll be set. In essence, we can finally see a real future.
NN: Is Donnie Avery dealing with the dreaded sophomore slump after a decent rookie season?
TST: That's certainly one way to look at his hands this season. I think too he's dealing with cornerbacks covering him tighter and more physically without Torry Holt. We're dying to see the Rams take some downfield shots with Avery, like the ones that put him on the map last year.
NN: What would be the biggest strength on defense that 49ers fans should pay attention to?
TST: We've actually gotten pretty good at stopping the run. Part of that has to with with the upgrades at linebacker like the addition of Laurinaitis and moving Witherspoon back to the weakside. Our DL, which has disappointed in the pass rush, has done a good job stopping the run. Now, this week that will be put to the test without SS James Butler and SLB David Vobora.
NN: With Jason Smith appearing to be out, what young talent should we keep an eye on this Sunday?
TST: James Laurinaitis has made a huge impact on this team, more than any rookie in a long time for this team.