49ers-Rams: Matchups to watch

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49ers-Rams: Matchups to watch

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's almost impossible to come up with "matchups to watch" in any game featuring the St. Louis Rams.After all, it's always problematic to find Rams who will actually be healthy enough to play.The team has been decimated by injuries this season. Nine players who have started games this season are among the 13 players whose seasons have already ended with trips to injured reserve.The list of those lost for the season includes receiver Danny Amendola, both starting offensive tackles, Rodger Saffold and Jason Smith, and six -- that's right, six -- cornerbacks.Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher were the Rams' starting cornerbacks to open the season. They played a combined five games before both were lost for the season. Veteran Al Harris started five games before he was lost for the season.The Rams continue to have injury concerns, as their most important offensive player, quarterback Sam Bradford, and their best defensive player, Chris Long, are questionable with ankle injuries.
Tale of the tape
49ers RT Anthony Davis (76): 6-5, 323, Rutgers, second season
Rams DE Chris Long (91): 6-3, 270, Virginia, fourth seasonIn his second NFL season, Davis has shown vast improvement and consistency over his rookie season. But there is no denying Davis struggled Thanksgiving night against the Baltimore Ravens.Things do not get a whole lot easier on Sunday, as he'll be matched against Long, who is quickly becoming recognized as one of the top challenges for right tackles. At least Davis will be playing alongside right guard Adam Snyder again, as he's back from a hamstring strain that forced him out of the game against the Ravens.
Long, however, might not be at full strength. He missed practice time this week with an ankle sprain. He is listed as questionable for Sunday's game, but the 49ers expect Long to be on the field. Long has not missed a game in his NFL career.Long is sixth in the NFL with 10 sacks on the season, and he has recorded at least one sack in five consecutive games. Half of his sacks have come in the fourth quarter of games."He's just a good football player," Davis said. "I've seen him play just as well against the run. He's a good pass-rusher, good motor. He's good."Last season, Long got the better of Davis in two matchups with a sack in each game and four quarterback pressures. Both Long and Davis are better than a year ago, Davis said."It's a different matchup this year," Davis said. "We're both different players."This is a huge matchup for the 49ers, whose pass protection will be looking to rebound from a forgettable performance in a 16-6 loss to the Ravens. The 49ers allowed nine sacks -- a 13-year worst performance for the team. Other matchups worth watching
49ers RB Frank Gore (21) vs. Rams LB James Laurinaitis (55): The Rams have the worst rush defense in the league. Arizona's Beanie Wells gained 228 yards on 27 rushing attempts last week in the Cardinals' 23-20 win at St. Louis. Laurinaitis is the Rams' leading tackler, and he must shed blocks and make the stop of Gore to prevent him from breaking into the secondary. Gore has five 100-yard games this season, and he needs 22 yards to break the 49ers' franchise record for rushing yards since the club entered the NFL in 1950.49ers NT Isaac Sopoaga (90) vs. Rams C Tony Wragge (64): The 49ers' run defense has been outstanding -- and that's an understatement. And a lot of it starts with Sopoaga clogging up the middle. The 49ers have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 33 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL. They are the first team since the 1928 Providence Steamrollers to not allow a rushing touchdown in the first 11 games of a season. In fact, the last player to score a rushing touchdown against them was the Rams' Steven Jackson. He scored on a 1-yard run on Dec. 26. The 49ers have gone 51 quarters without allowing a rushing TD. Wragge will start his fourth game at center after taking over for struggling Jason Brown. If the Rams want to run the ball, Wragge will have to do a good job against Sopoaga. Wragge, one of the 49ers player representatives during the lockout, signed with the Rams as a free agent.

49ers release Coffee after reinstating RB off retired list

49ers release Coffee after reinstating RB off retired list

Running back Glen Coffee, who walked away from the 49ers during training camp before his second NFL season, was reinstated Friday off the reserve-retired list.

As part of the same transaction wire released by the NFL office, the 49ers released Coffee, making him a free agent.

After seven seasons away from the game, Coffee is attempting a comeback, his agent told NBC Sports Bay Area on Saturday.

“I can tell you, he’s in great shape,” agent Ray Oubre said. “The man doesn’t have a six-pack, he’s got a 12-pack. He’s been waiting for the right time to hopefully get a workout with someone and show what he can do.

“He had a calling, and right now he feels like it’s his time to show what he can do. He explained to me, ‘I can do things now that I couldn’t do when I was initially with the 49ers.’ That’s the kind of shape he’s in.”

Coffee, who turns 30 on May 1, was a third-round draft pick (No. 74 overall) of the 49ers in 2009. He was the sixth running back selected in that year's draft. Coffee appeared in 14 games as a rookie and carried 83 times for 226 yards and one touchdown. He also caught 11 passes for 78 yards.

During training camp the next year as his teammates were exiting the locker room for the practice field in August 2010, Coffee cut the tape from his shoes and left the team's Santa Clara practice facility. He later informed then-coach Mike Singletary of his decision to stop playing football. Coffee said he believed God had a bigger plan for him.

Coffee was a specialist in the Sixth Battalion of the Army Rangers after enlisting in 2013. He is no longer active, Oubre said.

“He’s been training several months,” Oubre said. “The rigors of the Army Rangers, he was already in shape. He’s taking it to another level now. He’s been training for more than four months.

“He feels like he served and now the time is right. He’s in a good place. He understands, you can’t play football forever and you can’t do any one thing forever. He’s in a place right now that he wants to use his God-given ability as a football player.”

Coffee turned pro after his junior season at Alabama. In his final college season, Coffee rushed for 1,383 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Coffee has been training under Johnny Jackson at JDPI Sports Performance in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Oubre said he will be in contact with all 32 NFL teams to see if there’s any interest in bringing in Coffee for workouts. He might also hold an open workout for any interested teams.

Sponsored by Harbaugh, Kap named one of Top 100 most influential people

Sponsored by Harbaugh, Kap named one of Top 100 most influential people

Former 49ers quarterback and current free agent Colin Kaepernick has been named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People on Thursday. 

Each person named to the list is represented by a sponsor who then writes on why they are worthy of the honor. For Kaepernick, his former coach Jim Harbaugh wrote on him. 

Harbaugh coached Kaepernick for four seasons from 2011-2014. The two reached the Super Bowl together in the 2012 season. 

Other sports figures named to the list include Conor McGregor, Theo Epstein, LeBron James, Tom Brady, Simone Biles, and Neymar.

Kaepernick made national headlines this past season for his decision to first sit and then kneel during the national anthem as a fight against social injustices. 

Below is what Harbaugh wrote on Kaepernick's influence: 

Colin Kaepernick was alone in his early protests last year when he boldly and courageously confronted perceived inequalities in our social-justice system by refusing to stand for the national anthem. At times in our nation's history, we have been all too quick to judge and oppose our fellow Americans for exercising their First Amendment right to address things they believe unjust.

Rather than besmirch their character, we must celebrate their act. For we cannot pioneer and invent if we are fearful of deviating from the norm, damaging our public perception or—most important—harming our own personal interests.

I thank Colin for all he has contributed to the game of football as an outstanding player and trusted teammate. I also applaud Colin for the courage he has demonstrated in exercising his guaranteed right of free speech. His willingness to take a position at personal cost is now part of our American story.

How lucky for us all and for our country to have among our citizens someone as remarkable as Colin Kaepernick.