Editor's note: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Rams matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (FOX), at Candlestick Park
Matchup No. 3: Rogers vs. Amendola
49ers RT Anthony Davis vs. Rams LDE Chris LongTale of the tape
Davis (76): 6-foot-5, 323 pounds, third season, Rutgers
Long (91): 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, fifth season, VirginiaRight tackle Anthony Davis is the most-improved player on the 49ers' offense. The impact of his first full offseason with the club is clearly paying dividends.Davis reported to training camp in better shape, as he took part in the team's entire offseason program. The lockout of 2011 clearly did him no favors as he entered his second NFL season.Now, Davis is beginning to gain recognition around the league. Earlier this season, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan declared Davis to be a premier right tackle in the league. And Sports Illustrated's Peter King placed Davis on his All-Pro team.Davis said he tries not to get caught up in the praise. His first two seasons were not up to the level one would expect from a player the 49ers traded up to select with the No. 11 overall pick, so he is familiar with the other side.
"It's natural to pay attention, you work so hard at something," Davis said. "But you still have to go to work every day. My mom likes it, probably, but right now I've got work to do."Davis has a chance Sunday to show exactly how far he has come, as he goes head-to-head against nemesis Chris Long of the St. Louis Rams.In four previous meetings, Long recorded four sacks, while Davis was called for one holding and one false start.Davis figures to have his hands full against Long, whom 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman described this week as a "rolling ball of butcher knives." In 2007, then-Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress used the same term to describe Patrick Willis. The second overall pick in the 2008 draft, Long had his breakout season a year ago with 13 sacks. In July, the Rams locked up Long to a four-year, 58.5 million contract extension through the 2016 season.Davis and Long figure to see a lot more of each other in the future.