Cosell says Rams will struggle sustaining “any offense” against 49ers defense

NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell spoke on the Murph and Mac Show Thursday morning. Here’s what Cosell said about the 49ers upcoming matchup with the St. Louis Rams.

Q: Who are these 3-5 Rams?

COSELL: I think they’ve clearly made a conscious effort to limit Steven Jackson’s carries for whatever reason. Daryl Richardson has taken up those carries and he’s got a little more juice, he’s got a little more explosiveness to him. He’s a guy who can get to the edge and create those explosive chunks of yards, whereas at this point in Jackson’s career, he’s no longer that guy. He’s an inside grinder. Because they don’t have a lot of explosiveness in their offense, they need Richardson to play more snaps. The only other player who gives them any explosiveness in the offense is a rookie wide receiver named Chris Givens, who’s caught three 50-plus yards touchdowns on the season. But he doesn’t necessarily catch a lot of balls – they’re designed shot plays in which they go deep.

Q: What do you think of Sam Bradford?

COSELL: I think Bradford in some ways has been a victim of a really decimated offensive line. It happened last year. It’s happened again this year. He’s primarily a pocket quarterback and he’s not overly comfortable when he’s pressured. I don’t want to say that he crumbles – it’s not like that – but he’s a guy who needs to get better in the pocket when there are a lot of people around him. You can’t be a high-level NFL quarterback if you can’t throw when there are bodies around you. That’s just the NFL game.

Q: It sounds like the matchup between the 49ers defense and the Rams offense heavily favors the 49ers.

COSELL: It does. And again, not to be cliché, that’s why they play the games, obviously. If you look at the tape and you look 49ers D, Rams O, it’s hard to come up with a way that the Rams would sustain offense. Now, every team can hit a big play here and there, there’s no question. And obviously, in matchups like this the better team sometimes loses – that does happen. But when you look at the front-seven of the 49ers against this Rams O-line, it’s hard to find a way that the Rams will sustain any offense.

Q: Is there anything the Rams defense can do that presents a problem for the 49ers offense?

COSELL: The big issue with the Rams will be if you get into too many long-yardage situations, because the Rams can rush the quarterback. They have two defensive ends in Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Quinn has really come on this year. He’s a terrific edge rusher. He would work against Joe Staley. That’s a factor when it’s third and eight, third and nine. That’s not a factor on first and 10 when the 49ers are likely to be running the ball out of their very multiple looks.