The San Francisco 49ers probably haven't given the St. Louis Rams much thought since their matchup in Week 17 of the regular season. No, they've firmly been concentrating on their first playoff appearance since 2002 and have made the best of it, now set to host the NFC Championship game against the New York Giants. That being said, St. Louis is still making a lot of moves, having a much more eventful offseason than, say, the Arizona Cardinals or Seattle Seahawks.
Firstly, the Rams fired Steve Spagnuolo after he led them to a 10-38 record over the last three seasons, and they brought in Jeff Fisher to take the reigns. 49ers fans regard Fisher as a threat, but most feel as though he's less intimidating than some fresh new blood, using Jim Harbaugh as a prime example last season.
Well, Fisher has added his first big coordinator, bringing in Gregg Williams from the New Orleans Saints as the Rams' defensive coordinator. How should the 49ers and their fans feel about Williams being in the NFC West? Really, the only history here is the fact that Williams dialed a ton of blitzes in the preseason. Oh, and also the fact that the 49ers orchestrated two 80-yard touchdown drives near the end of a divisional playoff game on Saturday against his Saints.
Essentially, the most important thing to note that is good about the Williams hire from a Rams perspective is the fact that Williams runs a scheme similar to the one that Spagnuolo tried to run in St. Louis. It's a 4-3 blitz-heavy scheme with a deep zone emphasis. It will help St. Louis' young defensive linemen thrive, and give their linebackers some opportunities to put a hurting on quarterbacks.
The most important thing to note from a 49ers fan's perspective is that St. Louis has many of the same problems that New Orleans does defensively: the secondary. In fact, St. Louis' secondary is actually much worse than the secondary in New Orleans, and they'll have a tough time trying to cover man-to-man all the time, and when they're in the zone, there will be long stretches of field to take advantage of in the passing game.
It just doesn't seem like St. Louis has the personnel to effectively run the scheme of Williams, which is one that thrives on a "best case scenario" of the blitzes working exactly as dialed up. While the 49ers will need to always be alert of his blitzes and the fact that too many sacks and a hard-hitting defense can put you behind very quickly, Williams' defense is only intimidating in part and can be exploited. It's not an insult to Williams, who will certainly have his moments with his blitzes and possibly improve the Rams with his veteran leadership and connection to Fisher, but Saints fans were happy to see him go and 49ers fans will be confident, at the very least.