Thursday, December 2, 2021

The 49ers are on hiatus after the last injury at the end of the season

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The San Francisco 49ers will face a depleted receiver core from the Los Angeles Rams – even with Odell Beckham Jr.

Why? The ‘Niners’ Monday night football opponent has just taken his last offense injury.

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On the morning of Saturday, November 13, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter and ESPN reporter Dianna Russini reported that Robert Woods had torn a cruciate ligament that likely wiped away the rest of the 2021 season.

And according to Schefter, Woods hobbled from training on Friday, but still spoke to reporters – and gave the press the idea that everything was okay.

Although the Rams acquired the former Cleveland Brown on Thursday, the Rams wide receiver room for the upcoming MNF competition now looks like this: Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, Beckham Jr., Ben Skowronek and JJ Koski. The Rams lost DeSean Jackson seven games after being fired from the team in the week of November 1 and have since joined the Las Vegas Raiders.

Although the Rams will move into Levi’s Stadium 7-2 overall, the team has dealt with important injuries.

Cam Akers, who started running back, went down with an Achilles tendon before training camp. Darrell Henderson Jr. has struggled with his own ailments, including a recent rib injury that incapacitated him for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week 3 game. Sony Michel had to contend with a shoulder injury sustained against the New York Giants.

In the WR area, Woods joins the rookies Tutu Atwell (shoulder surgery at the end of the season) and the hybrid TE / WR Jacob Harris (ACL / MCL) as key injuries in this group.

How did Woods go down? According to Peter Schrager of the NFL Network, Woods set foot during a running game and then headed south.

But here’s the significance of the Woods cruciate ligament rupture: According to Rams reporter Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic, Woods is one of two main focuses of the Rams offensive.

It was already a foregone conclusion, but Beckham Jr. will officially make his first Rams start against the 49ers on Monday.

The NFC West fight on November 15th marks the fifth time Beckham will face the 49ers. In the last four encounters, Beckham has caught a total of 19 passes for 314 yards and scored three touchdowns, according to the Pro Football Reference.

His best game against the 49ers was on October 11, 2015, when he overtook seven catches for 121 yards and scored a touchdown.

However, Beckham had problems on his last appearance in Santa Clara on October 7, 2019: He only got two throws for 27 yards when the ‘Niners crossed MNF for a 31-3 romp.

Beckham is likely to see a higher snap surge than originally expected. Oh, he could face Josh Norman, who wants to play despite his rib injuries. And with this memory that sprouts between the two of them.

But will this mean OBJ will take on the role Woods is now leaving? What was the handling of the inside routes, picking up blockers, getting off and basically the dirty work between the receivers?

Evidence suggests that sophomore Jefferson, whose dad Shawn played as the San Diego Charger against the 49ers in the 1995 Super Bowl, will get more opportunities and goals, which could mean he’ll get into Woods’ role.

According to Pro Football Focus, Jefferson caught 12 of his 27 catches in the middle of the field. At 6 feet 2,200 pounds, he could give the Rams a longer option on those medium catches while facing a healthier Jimmie Ward will probably be safe again plus linebackers Fred Warner and Azeez Al-Shaair in the line-up.

Jefferson may not be the only insider option, however. The Rams could turn Tyler Higbee to the tight end at these inside games if they put Beckham on the offensive.

Regardless, an explosive Rams offensive that leads the NFL in average yards per passing game will end up with no option outside of Kupp and the new OBJ. And that’s also a Rams team that lost their last four games against the 49ers.

However, Beckham had problems on his last appearance in Santa Clara on October 7, 2019: He only got two throws for 27 yards when the ‘Niners crossed MNF for a 31-3 romp.

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