Niner Noise sat down with the Fansided Networks St. Louis Rams site RamblinFan editor Nathan Kearns and discussed this weeks match up with the Rams. To read my answers to Nathans questions click HERE.
NN: How do Rams fans feel about facing Kaepernick over Smith?
RF: The St. Louis Rams should be excited to have Kaepernick starting against them on Sunday. Smith has played, and beaten, this Rams teams countless times over the past half decade, even when the 49ers weren’t playing that well as a team. The Rams have had tremendous success against young quarterbacks this season, going 3-1 versus rookies, with opposing quarterbacks averaging only 215 yards, 1 TD, and INTs per game this year. More importantly, the are allowing those quarterbacks to convert on only 27.2% of third down conversion attempts.
They did manage to sack Kaepernick 3 times in Week 10, even with the quarterback only playing about 60% of the game. That number will likely not changing this week considering Kaepernick is at his best when passing outside of the pocket. The trouble with that style of quarterbacking is that the St. Louis Rams have extremely fast defensive ends and cornerbacks that play up on the line of scrimmage. If RGIII or Russell Wilson could not slay the Rams, Kaepernick will likely not have much better success.
NN: Stephen Jackson has not received the amount of touches I would have expected this season, what are some of the reasons why?
RF: In Week 2 against the Washington Redskins, Jackson tweeked his groin, which allowed Daryl Richardson to get some quality touches early in the year. In years past, Jackson would have forced his way back on the field, but both him and Coach Fisher verbalized their satisfaction with Richardson’s performance. Now that he is “healthy” again, he is getting more and more touches, which has contributed to him averaging 107 yards rushing over the last three games.
NN: If Danny Amendola doubtful for the game, does not play how does the Rams offense change with him in the lineup?
RF: Well, that will be the thing to watch on Sunday. Amendola was “doubtful” for the game against the Arizona Cardinals, with some even reported that he was ruled out after being in a walking boot throughout the week of practice. The good news, at least for Rams fans, is that he did show up to practice on Friday without the boot. Even in limited time against the Cardinals, Amendola managed to put his stamp on the game. He caught a huge 38 yard bomb in the first half, and pulled coverage to him that likely allowed Chris Givens to have his monster 6 reception, 115 yard night. The one positive for the St. Louis offense is that the 49ers have not seen Chris Givens in action yet, with him being benched by Coach Fisher in Week 10 for violating team rules. If Amendola can’t make it, Givens may be enough to compensate for the dropoff in production.
NN: How do you see the Rams game plan offensively? Run heavy, pass heavy or a balanced attack?
RF: Coach Fisher verablized after the bye week that he had made a mistake by not sticking with Steven Jackson and the running game during the St. Louis Rams winning drought in November. Jackson took 29 carries against the 49ers last time the team played each other, and I would expect the same this time around. Run heavy supplimented with play action passes and quick slants.
NN: Give us your prediction, and please don’t say another tie.
RF: Well, I was going to say tie, but I guess I won’t since you asked nicely. John Harbaugh made a bold decision by sticking with Kaepernick against the St. Louis Rams, and it could come back to bite him in this one. The key for the San Francisco 49ers will be keeping drives alive and Kaepernick upright; going 2 for 11 on 3rd down will not cut it. The key for the Rams will be Steven Jackson running like a monster and stopping Frank Gore from destroying the team on the ground. I think that Kaepernick will fall into the trap the Coach Fisher and the defensive staff set for young quarterback… Rams 24, 49ers 15