Over the past few years the Rams have had difficulties covering the opposing team's tight-end; but then again, what position could they cover well? The Rams played some terrible defense from 2007-2009, but tight-ends in particular threatened the Rams' defense.
So far in 2010 that has not been the case. Tight-end has been a position that the Rams have been defending very effectively this season. Throughout the first half of the 2010 season the Rams have played against some premiere NFL tight-ends, but they've all failed to put up impressive numbers. Here's a look...
Zach Miller(OAK wk2)- 3 REC 49 YDS 0 TD
Chris Cooley(WASH wk3)- 5 REC 53 YDS 0 TD
Fred Davis(WASH wk3) 2 REC 11 YDS 0 TD
John Carlson(SEA wk4)- 1 REC 15 YDS 0 TD
Brandon Pettigrew(DET wk5)- 4 REC 26 YDS 1 TD
Tony Scheffler(DET wk5)- 4 REC 41 YDS 0 TD
Antonio Gates(SD wk6)- 2 REC 12 YDS Gates was injured during the game
Kellen Winslow(TB wk7)- 5 REC 44 YDS 0 TD
Chris Cooley of the Washington Redskins was the only one to surpass 50 yards against the Rams, and Detroit's Brandon Pettigrew was the only one who found the end-zone.
Since the Rams have been able to cover some of the better tight-ends in the league effectively, there is no reason to believe that the 49er's Vernon Davis will be any different, especially considering that Davis is banged up, and wasn't able practice the entire week.
Davis will certaily pose a threat, but there is still no reason to believe that he will be more effective than the other top-notch tight-ends the Rams have seen so far. The real threat from the 49er's offense will be running-back Frank Gore. Gore, who has 164 carries for 691 yards and 2 touchdowns, may be the best running-back the Rams have faced in 2010. The Rams have not been as lucky against the top running-backs they've faced in 2010 as the tight-ends; here's a look...
Darren McFadden(OAK wk2)- 30 ATT 145 YDS 0 TD
Jahvid Best(DET wk5)- 17 ATT 59 YDS 0 TD
Ryan Mathews(SD wk6)- 12 ATT 64 YDS 0 TD
LaGarrette Blount(TB wk7)- 11 ATT 72 YDS 0 TD
Jonathan Stewart(CAR wk7)- 14 ATT 30 YDS 0 TD
Yes, McFadden was the only one to break 100 yards, but keep in mind that Detroit was ahead by a lot, so Best was mainly used to as a clock killer. Also, Mathews was coming off of an injury, Blount basically got those numbers in the second half (he didn't get many carries in the first half), and Stewart has been bad against every team he's faced.
If the Rams can get an early lead against the 49er's, then San Francisco might resort to their passing game and abandon the run. However, if they 49er's are in a position to comfortably run the ball the entire game, then Gore could pose a serious threat.