The release of the final 49ers and Rams injury reports for Sunday revealed a couple of key questionables for the Rams. Chris Long and Jason Smith were limited in practice for much of this week, and while they’re expected to play on Sunday, they might be slowed a little bit. The 49ers only real big injury of any sort is Anthony Dixon listed as questionable because of an ankle injury.
If Long is limited on Sunday, it would be a significant benefit to the 49ers offensive line. The o-line has struggled with consistency and Long is a serious pass rush threat. If he is missing a step on Sunday it would give the 49ers line a chance to be a bit more prepared. With Troy Smith returning to the line, he can benefit from a slower Long given Smith’s own moves and ability to get out of the way.
Smith starts at right tackle for the Rams and has been limited with an ankle injury. If I’m 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky I’d be overloading that right side with blitzes early and often. It’s not the blind side, but if Smith is slowed down it only makes sense to try and take advantage. The 49ers pass rush has been inconsistent and anything that can help boost it would be what we’d call “a good thing.”
Coach Singletary indicated Dixon is likely going to be fine to play and everybody is banged up at this time of the year. Dixon showed some great moves recently and I’d love to see him get a nice chunk of the rushes, with Brian Westbrook utilized more frequently in the pass-catching side of things. I’d say the early breakdown of rushes would tell us how Dixon is doing, but given the random splits we’ve seen since Frank Gore went down it’s hard to say anything with any level of certainty at this point.