Rams: Preseason pick to cellar dweller

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Rams: Preseason pick to cellar dweller

SANTA CLARA -- The St. Louis Rams were the only team in the NFC West that entered this season with a returning starting quarterback whose long-term spot in the organization was unquestioned.Coming off a 7-9 season with rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, many expected big things from the Rams this season."It's been a rough year for us, obviously," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said Wednesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.The Rams were a consensus pick to win the NFC West. But the Rams have fallen on their faces. They're in last place with a 2-9 record, and Spagnuolo is on the hot seat. Were the expectations too much to handle?RELATED: NFL standings
"We embraced that. I know the team did, the staff did, and I did," Spagnuolo said. "You'd much rather be in that role. Certainly, you want to live up to it and exceed it and we haven't done that for a lot of different reasons -- some out of our control and enough of it in our control. It didn't happen, and we're trying to find a way to correct that."The Rams had a change in offensive systems. Coordinator Pat Shurmur was hired as Cleveland Browns head coach. Gone was the short-passing game in favor or a more vertical attack favored by new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.But the 49ers (9-2) had many of the same issues with the lockout. So why have the Rams failed where the 49ers succeeded?"The one challenge that we had -- and we're never going to use this as an excuse but you're asking the question -- the one thing that's important on offense, especially when you're putting a new one in, is continuity, especially on the offensive line," Spagnuolo said. "We haven't had that."Both offensive tackles, Rodger Saffold and Jason Brown, are on injured reserve. And former 49ers lineman Tony Wragge replaced Jason Brown at center last month. Also, Bradford missed two starts with a high ankle sprain. Also, the Rams have had problems keeping receivers healthy.
"You really need it in the landscape of this year and with teams like ourselves and San Francisco, where you're putting in a new offense, especially," Spagnuolo said. "You really had to bank on having the same 11, 12, 13 guys through training camp. In the beginning of the year, we knew there would be some rough edges. But you'd hope you'd get to this certain point in the season and those reps under your belt would surface and you'd have some success."That's happened to San Francisco this year. I know Jim (Harbaugh) has spoken of it quite often. The goal is to just get better and better."

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88. 

Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.

A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.

Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014. 

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After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

Shaun Draughn is now a member of the New York Giants, but he won't ever forget his brief stint with the 49ers. The running back posted a long thank you to the organization and its fans on Thursday:

"I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community," Draughn posted on Instagram. "You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever.

"Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!!"

Draughn, 29, averaged 3.1 yards per carry over two seasons with the 49ers, totaling 459 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. 

I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community. You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever. Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!! To the @nygiants I want to say thank you for allowing me to be apart of such a first class organization!! I am excited to go to work in the quest for #5 and to the Fans I can assure you, you will get my ABSOLUTE best and nothing less, put a stamp on it‼️‼️ thank you God for ALWAYS making a way!! #Proverbs3:5-6 #BigBlue #GMen

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