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Examining the right side of the Rams' offensive line

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The Monday Night match up between the Rams and the 49ers might be won in the trenches. I take a look at the right side of the Rams' offensive line.

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Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Leading up to the 49ers-Rams game, we have had a lot of discussion about the linemen on both teams. Fooch has highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the Rams' defensive line and acknowledged the role that the o-line has played in keeping Austin Davis upright. I always like a game that compels people to write about linemen; the game is really won or lost in the trenches, and even though I was a skill position player in high school, I recognize that linemen don't get their fair share of attention. Unfortunately, the attention we've been paying to the Rams' and 49ers' linemen hasn't been about how good they are.

In particular, I want to reproduce some numbers from the good folks at Pro Football Focus in respect to the Rams' right side of the o-line. As Fooch mentioned earlier, QB Davis has a hard time when being blitzed, thus suggesting that the 49ers should bring some pressure. If we look at the right side of the o-line, we might start to see where pressure should be applied.

As a unit, the Rams' o-line are No. 30 in PFF's Pass Blocking Efficiency Stat, just worse than the 49ers at No. 27 (yay for small victories!). Football Outsiders has the Rams at No. 25 in pass protection with a 7.2% sack rate. RT Joe Barksdale, however, is not the problem according to PFF, leading the league's RTs with a 12.3 grade (the higher the grade the better for PFF - they can be negative). Though he's given up nine hurries, he has yet to allow a sack. RG Davin Joseph is in the opposite camp, ranking No. 73 out of 74 guards with a -8.3 grade in pass blocking. He's allowed 15 QB pressures. His fellow interior linesman C Scott Wells is also struggling, having allow nine QB pressures.

Clearly, when attacking the right side of the line, the best bet for a defense is to attack the interior. Getting a strong push up the middle should work, especially if we run our Justin-Smith-is-totally-not-holding stunts.  I also wonder too if the weakness on the interior line means that more defensive linemen for the 49ers will be active than in the past. It may be that a certain young player who is adept at getting to the QB could have a nice introduction to the NFL by blitzing from different areas of the d-line.