The 49ers took out an insurance policy this past year for Frank Gore and his name is Glen Coffee. As devastating as last week’s game against the Vikings was the news this week that Gore will be out for three weeks was another hit. The Niners have paid their deductible and will claim their policy this Sunday against the Rams. In recent years the 49ers have not had adequate backups to Gore. With the selection of Coffee in the third round of this year’s draft the 49ers not only have that adequate backup but hopefully the man who will succeed Gore when his time ends with the Niners. Coffee had big success in the preseason rushing for 249 yards. The preseason does not count so Coffee will get to show his stats were not the product of him facing second and third string defenses although the Rams rushing D this year are playing like second and third stringers. That could also be said about the Rams offense. Need not to worry 49er Faithful, we are in good hands. A lot of Coffee’s success over the next two weeks will rely on the offensive line. If they can continue doing what they have done for Gore look for some big yards out of Coffee. There is a chance that Joe Staley might miss Sunday’s game, he sat out Wednesday’s practice and was limited in Thursday’s practice, which is not good because he is the anchor on the offensive line. But if Staley is a go the Niners O-line will dominate the Rams and lead the way for Coffee.
Coffee and Gore are not similar in the type of running styles they have. Gore, at 5 ft 9 in, is shorter and more of a power runner than Coffee who stands in at 6 ft 1 in. Not that Coffee does not have power and can’t run over players but he is more of a finesse running back and when he finds the holes he will make defensive players miss with spins, jukes and stiff arms. The one thing Coffee lacks is Gore’s pass blocking ability but he is a rookie and will get better with more experience. The 49ers could not have a better opponent to face as their first test without Gore. It will not be a cake walk for the 49ers but the rams are ranked 27th in the NFL against the run and give up an average of 148 rushing yards a game. The Rams are one of the 49ers biggest and most hated rivals so no matter who is playing or what the records are of the teams a heated and physical game should be expected.
How will the Coffee brew?
Coffee will get out to a slow start which is typical of the 49ers offense this year. With Coffee in the backfield trying to check his emotions in his first NFL start he should get it going after the first two or three series on offense and will show why he was such an explosive back at Alabama. Let’s hope Sunday’s Coffee is strong a la Gore with a little sweetness a la Walter Payton.
Stats: 23 carries, 105 rushing yards, one touchdown with 3 receptions for 25 yards.
Keep updated automatically through email on 49ers news at Niner Noise. Subscribe here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/NinerNoise