The San Francisco 49ers travel to face the St. Louis Rams on Monday, which means it is time for 5 questions. We took a few minutes to chat with 3k from Turf Show Times, and he provided some insight on everything from Austin Davis to the defensive line to special teams. He also provided a score prediction.
Niners Nation: Tell us about Austin Davis. How is he performing, and is he looking like a long-term option? What's Sam Bradford's future looking like?
Turf Show Times: He's certainly outperformed the expectations since he came in at halftime of the week one drubbing. What's been most impressive is how unconstrained he is. A lot of times when you have a QB situation like that, the backup or 3rd QB leans on a specific target to bail them out or a constricted playbook to keep things simple. That hasn't been the case with Davis. He uses the entire field and his entire stable of receiving options. So the early grades are high. As to whether he's a long-term option, we've thankfully got plenty more opportunities to see him before making a decision. As for Sam, sure you have to wonder if Davis' long play is pushing him out the longer it continues. But as stubborn as Fisher and Snead have been regarding Bradford (as in committing to him so steadfastly throughout the offseason and draft), I wouldn't be surprised if he's still around in 2015.
NN: How is life these days with Brian Schottenheimer trying to figure out how to run an NFL offense?
TST: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Honestly, he hasn't been the reason the Rams have lost the last two games. Then again, that just makes them that much worse. Expect to see an end around on Monday to someone who has no business running an end around because Schottey gonna Schottey.
NN: What's up with the defensive line struggles? It seems like the group is doing solidly against the run, but they don't seem to be generating quite the pass rush. What is there to say about it?
TST: Well first and foremost is the respect it's getting in regards to opposing offensive gameplans. Teams are running the ball and calling for quick passes because they know they're not going to consistently get five- and seven-step drops protected. So it has certainly had an impact in that way. Things still have broken down though, especially against the Cowboys, so they're not immaculate. I think there has been a learning curve for Gregg Williams as the DC as well. He implemented some of his Ruby formation that uses a three-man front, and it disrupted the defensive flow pretty blatantly. Hopefully, it was just a phase and Gregg has grown out of it...
NN: How are the Rams special teams looking?
TST: Not great, Bob. Last week was just atrocious. The Rams started with a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown (reminder: they lost by 6 points...). Special Teams Specialist Chase Reynolds was partly to blame (cue the "You had one job" tape). He followed that up with perhaps the most blatant block in the back in the history of football later on. And because we needed more fail, Ray Ray Armstrong picked up an unsportmanlike penalty that resulted in a pink slip (he's already found a gig with Oakland, so sympathy's not really needed here...). The hope is that Armstrong's termination will serve as a resounding message to the team as a whole but also certainly to the special unit.
NN: How about a prediction for the game?
TST: Well, I gave my staff a 27-20 Rams victory, so I'll stick with that as the score. If nothing else, I'm hoping for a boring, straightforward game. That's what the Rams were built for, and that's how we earned our sole victory in 2014. These rollercoaster shootouts with the comebacks and the scoring swings and the GLAAAAAAAAVIN has been swell and all, but back to painful, normal NFC West football if you please.
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