Doom settles in over Rams as season winds down

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Doom settles in over Rams as season winds down

Whos better than the Rams? Just about everyone, right now.St. Louis, picked by many asthe preseason favorites in the NFC West, are struggling at 2-9 as they preparefor their game this weekend at Candlestick Park. Even worse, with aloss, the Rams would have to endure some celebrating as a 49ers win would put San Francisco in theplayoffs for the first time since 2002.Heres a sampling of the dismay in St. Louis from Jim Thomas of the PostTelegram. First, on the Rams woes since their last playoff appearance since2004:Since that last playoff season, 2004,the Rams are 29-78, for a .271 winning percentage. Only one Rams player is leftfrom that last playoff season, running back Steven Jackson. He was a rookie in'04 and since then has seen it all at Rams Park.He has been through coaching staffchanges, front office shakeups, new coordinators, dozens of new teammates, aswell as those 78 losses in the last 107 games. And in the midst of thisinjury-plagued 2-9 campaign, he's tired of the losing. Tired of it all. "We're tired ofgiving the same excuses," Jacksonsaid. "We're tired of having the same results. I think we as a teampractice really hard and I think we prepare week in and week out. We positionourselves a lot of times in these games especially the last four or fiveweeks to win the game.So, things are bad in St. Louis,and it looks like theyre likely to get worse. Thomas looks at theRams upcoming schedule:It wasn't exactly a November toremember for the Rams, not when you lose three of four games to teams with acombined record of 12-21. And now that the Rams have completed the supposedlysoft portion of their schedule, it's time for the closing stretch from hell.Starting with Sunday's game in San Francisco, the Rams'final five foes have a combined record of 37-18. That's a .673 winningpercentage and matches the toughest closing schedule of any team in the NFL.As if 2-9 and a hideous schedule ahead isnt bad enough, theres talk in St. Louis that the Ramsare a leading candidate to move (back) to L.A. after Millionaire Shahid Khan bought the Jaguars and pledged to keep them in Jacksonville, thereby vaulting the Rams as a primary candidate to relocate to So. Cal.
From ChadGarrison of the Riverfront Times:Call it The Return of Khan. Shahid Khan, the Illinois businessmagnate who attemptedto purchase the St. Louis Rams last year before StanKroenke foiled his plans, is reportedly the newowner of the Jacksonville Jaguars. But here is where Khan's ascent to the NFL's ownership table could still have abig impact on the St. Louis Rams: Khan, who made millions as president of aChampaign-based auto parts manufacturer, will reportedly keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Khan made asimilar pledge when pursuing the Rams, saying he would keep the team in St. Louis. (Rams owner) Stan Kroenke has made no similar promise.More from Garrison -- Five Reasons the Rams will LEAVE St. Louis:1. Kroenke Won't Commit to Keeping Club Here
2. Kroenke Serves on a Committee to Bring an NFL Team to Los Angeles
3. Favorable Lease Agreement Allows Rams to Leave
It looks like a downhill slide for the 49ers' longtime rivals -- a terrible November, a brutal final stretch and a potential move out of town, but we have to ask -- how in the world did this team beat New Orleans in Week 8?The Rams, it appears, have nothing to lose headed into this weekend's clash against the 49ers. Could that be a danger to San Francisco?

Mark Helfrich provides insight into Chip Kelly's line of thinking

Mark Helfrich provides insight into Chip Kelly's line of thinking

Mark Helfrich had a strong indication he would be fired as Oregon’s head coach. And he said he told Chip Kelly recently he would have no hard feelings if Kelly left the 49ers to return to coach the Ducks.

Kelly this week said he is not interested in abandoning his job with the 49ers to coach in the college ranks. Helfrich suggested during a radio interview on Friday that Kelly told him the same thing privately.

When it was suggested that Kelly hated to recruit, Helfrich did not disagree.

"That's a fact," Helfrich said in an interview on ESPN Radio's Russillo and Kanell. "I don't know hated recruiting. . . a dislike. A strong dislike. But I think Chip has that challenge in his mind right now to make it right in the NFL.

"I had some of those conversations with him a couple weeks ago when it looked like this was going south. That was a very awkward converation, but (I) just wanted to let him know that to take our personal relationship out of it in every way, shape or form if he wanted to consider this.

"But, me, reading between the lines, I think he wants to make it right in the NFL. I think he wants to win at that level. He's had a rough go of it this year, but he'll get it right."

Kelly compiled a 46-7 record in four seasons in Eugene, Ore. He left after the 2012 season to accept the head-coaching job with the Philadelphia Eagles. Kelly was fired late last season and took the 49ers job two weeks later.

In Kelly’s first season with the 49ers, the club is 1-10. The 49ers are on a franchise-long 10-game losing streak entering Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Helfrich was 37-16 in his four seasons at Oregon after his promotion from offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Kelly said he spoke with Helfrich the morning after he was fired.

“I just felt bad for Mark. I love him like a brother,” Kelly said. “He’s a tremendous person. He’s a hell of a football coach, but he’s an even better person. Just felt for him and the rest of the guys on that staff. It’s an unfortunate thing that goes on in this profession. We all know about it when we sign up, but when it happens you’re still taken aback by it.”

Kelly said he hoped his denial of any interest in the Oregon job would end all speculation about his future. When asked if intends to remain with the 49ers, Kelly said on Wednesday, “Yep. So we're all done with that, I hope."
 

Injury report: Dial set to return for 49ers; Patton, Lynch questionable

Injury report: Dial set to return for 49ers; Patton, Lynch questionable

Defensive lineman Quinton Dial, who sat out last week’s game with knee and neck issues, will return to action Sunday for the 49ers at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears.

Dial was not listed on the team’s injury report after going through two limited practices this week. The 49ers had only a walk-through Friday in Orlando, Fla., but Dial was cleared to return to full activity, the team announced.

Wide receiver Quinton Patton (concussion) and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (ankle) were both listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

Patton appears to be on pace to be cleared in the NFL’s return-to-play concussion protocol. He has returned to non-contact football activity after sustaining a head injury last week against the Miami Dolphins.

Lynch has already missed four consecutive games with a high-ankle sprain. Lynch has appeared in only three games this season. He sat out the first four games of the year while serving a four-game suspension for violating the leageu’s policy of substances of abuse.

The Bears listed six players as questionable for the game, including outside linebackers Willie Young and rookie Leonard Floyd. Young leads Chicago with 6.5 sacks, while Floyd is second with five sacks.

Quarterback Jay Cutler has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. Matt Barkley will make his second career start.

49ERS
Questionable
LB Aaron Lynch (ankle)
WR Quinton Patton (concussion)

BEARS
Out
QB Jay Cutler (right shoulder)
Questionable
LB Willie Young (knee)
S Adrian Amos (foot)
WR Eddie Royal (toe)
LB Leonard Floyd (concussion)
CB Deiondre' Hall (ankle)
G Josh Sitton (ankle)