In this mornings conference call, Buffalo head coach Chan Gailey told the Bay Area media that the 49ers have the best offensive line that his team will have faced at this point of the season. A few hours later, standing before the Bay Area media, Jim Harbaugh returned a similar compliment. This will be the best defensive line that weve played so far this year, Harbaugh said. Its a statement that might seem to defy reason as the Bills defense gave up 45 second half points in a 52-28 loss to the Patriots last Sunday and is one of the lower ranked units in the league.Some turnovers have gotten in their way, Harbaugh explained of the discrepancy. But if those were eliminated, they would be one of the most effective, explosive teams in the National Football League.There is no denying the size and talent among Buffalos front four. The Bills starting defensive line is responsible for eight of the teams 10 sacks. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams leads the bunch with 3.5. But the 49ers are getting familiar with all of them.Youll see the equivalent of Justin Smith on their side, extremely athletic on the edges, Harbaugh said, and an inside tackle that is maybe the most powerful, athletic tackle in the game. Marcell Dareus doesnt come out ever. Hes in there in the pass rush downs. A big 330 plus guy that can move. Its impressive when you watch the film, the endzone shot of him lined up, hes a big powerful man that can run. They are skilled talent.I think they are the best of the bunch. All four of those guys. All, very, very talented, left tackle Joe Staley said. I think the best player is Kyle Williams Very underrated player. Doesnt get the national press that the other guys do. Hes very solid, very impressive player. And then Mark Anderson on my side, very athletic, very speedy guy. Got a lot of moves. And Dareus as well, hes a monster. Very talented big guy. The thing about him too is he doesnt come off the field in third down situations. Hes a 335 pound guy. That speaks to his athleticism. You dont see that very often. Its a huge challenge in front of us.That challenge will be keeping the Bills' front defensive four away from Alex Smith, who for more than one reason, is one of the more sacked quarterbacks in the league. The 49ers will rely on their own strategy to keep that from happening and not necessarily what worked for New England. You learn from all the film, Alex Smith explained. The Patriots are different. All the teams are different. You learn from it here and there but its a different system they have different players so you take what you can.These teams are not familiar with each other as they have not played since 2008, so the 49ers realize they will have to be prepared to adjust to differences on the field compared to what they see on film. Safety Donte Whitner spent his first five seasons in the league with Buffalo before signing a three year deal with San Francisco last season. He says one thing he knows about his former team, after a loss like last weeks to the Patriots, the Bills will come to Candlestick and play as if their backs are against the wall.
Starting safety Eric Reid will not be available for the 49ers on Thursday night, and the other presumptive starting safeties are questionable, too.
Jimmie Ward (hamstring) and Jaquiski Tartt (neck) went through limited practice Wednesdsay and are listed as questionable to face the Los Angeles Rams in front of a national television audience at Levi’s Stadium on Thursday night.
Ward and Tartt are expected to be available for the game, but the 49ers’ only healthy safeties are rookies Lorenzo Jerome and Adrian Colbert.
Reid is expected miss more than one game with a sprain of the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Reid is listed as out for Thursday’s game, along with linebacker Reuben Foster.
The 49ers medical staff no longer requires Foster to wear an orthopedic boot to stabilize his high right ankle sprain. General manager John Lynch said Foster is making good progress, but the 49ers are going to be cautious with him.
“The one thing I know is that freak athletes tend to be freak healers, as well,” Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area.
“He wanted to play the first week in the boot. That’s just the way he’s wired. We got to make sure he’s all the way healthy before we put him in, and we’re going to do that.”
Tight end George Kittle (hip) and linebacker Eli Harold (foot) are questionable for the game and are expected to play. Kittle sustained his injury during the 49ers’ 12-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Harold was stepped on during a practice this week.
49ers injury report
LB Reuben Foster (ankle)
S Eric Reid (knee)
LB Eli Harold (foot)
TE George Kittle (hip)
S Jaquiski Tartt (neck)
S Jimmie Ward (hamstring)
The 49ers entered the regular season feeling as confident in quarterback Brian Hoyer as anyone on the offensive side of the ball.
But Hoyer has struggled through the worst back-to-back games of his 33-start NFL career. And the 49ers need him to get going, beginning Thursday night against the Los Angeles Rams, coach Kyle Shanahan said.
"I want him to get his edge back. I want him to get his confidence,” Shanahan said Wednesday on the KNBR Morning Show.
“We need Brian to step up, and we need everyone around him to step up.”
In the first two games of the season, Hoyer has completed 62.9 percent of his 62 pass attempts but for just 292 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating is a lowly 60.7.
The 49ers have scored only four field goals and no touchdowns on their 21 offensive possessions in losses to Carolina and Seattle. Moreover, the 49ers have converted just four of 23 (17.4 percent) of their third-down attempts.
The quick turnaround on Thursday at Levi’s Stadium is something Hoyer said he welcomes this week -- of all weeks.
Last season with the Chicago Bears, Hoyer did not throw for fewer than 300 yards in any of his four full games. On Sunday in the 49ers’ 12-9 loss to the Seahawks, he managed just 99 yards passing.
“It was a tough game and now we move on,” Hoyer said. “Thankfully, this week we get to move on really quick and move on to LA.
”You get to put the last one behind you and move on to the next.”