The San Francisco 49ers host the St. Louis Rams Sunday afternoon, and the 49ers will be looking to take advantage of Rams injuries and ineffectiveness. Jeff Deeney from Pro Football Focus put together a few thoughts in previewing the matchup, and the Rams offensive line questions could be the biggest area for the 49ers to exploit.
The Rams drafted Greg Robinson as a guy they could eventually slot into the left tackle role for the long haul. He was getting guard work initially, but Jake Long's season-ending injury has resulted in Robinson moving out to left tackle. In 18 snaps at left tackle this past Sunday, Robinson gave up three pressures (one sack, one hit, one hurry), and also committed a holding penalty. He will likely find himself facing Ahmad Brooks in nickel situations. Normally he would face Aldon Smith, but with Aaron Lynch handling Smith's nickel role, they have Lynch coming out the right side of the offensive line.
The interior of the Rams line is where the 49ers will potentially look to attack. PFF has him having given up 18 QB pressures, which is the worst among NFL centers. Additionally, Davin Joseph is likely going to start at right guard, and PFF ranks him No. 66 out of 78 guards.
PFF ranks the Rams line No. 31 as a whole in pass block efficiency, but that interior of the line could be where the 49ers can make their biggest gains. If that is in fact the case, maybe we see some blitzing up the middle. Patrick Willis is a question mark, but even if he is inactive, Chris Borland has showed some ability as a blitzing linebacker. You could send him and/or Michael Wilhoite, or you could get extra fancy and bring Antoine Bethea down the middle. I would not be surprised at all if we saw Vic Fangio mix in a few blitzes up the middle.