By Sam McPherson
The Los Angeles Rams have just four players with official injury designations for the Week 16 home game against the San Francisco 49ers, and at first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much of an issue with the injuries the Rams do have. However, if the 49ers are able to throw the ball at all against the Los Angeles defense, they will be able to take advantage of a depleted secondary, thanks to the Rams’ injuries.
San Francisco has the worst passing offense in the NFL, but with two members of the Los Angeles secondary listed as doubtful for the Christmas Eve matchup between the two teams at the Memorial Coliseum, it means a struggling Rams team could struggle on defense against a 49ers offense that has potential to explode at any time.
Alexander And Joyner Doubtful
Safety Maurice Alexander and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner took different routes this week in workouts on their way to being designated as doubtful for the San Francisco game. Alexander has a concussion, and he didn’t workout on Wednesday at all. After being limited on both Thursday and Friday in practice, he is subject to the NFL’s protocol for clearing such injuries.
Joyner’s ankle injury was stable enough on Wednesday to enable him to participate a little in workouts, but he was unable to take the field at all on Thursday and Friday. This step backward in practice means Joyner is less likely to play on Saturday than Alexander, in all probability.
Considering 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick’s inconsistent play throughout this career, the San Francisco offense may not be able to take advantage of these Rams injuries.
WR Woes For Rams
Two wide receivers are on the Los Angeles injury report for the 49ers contest: Bradley Marquez (knee) and Mike Thomas (hip). The former has played in all 14 games this year, catching three passes for 37 yards total. As a rookie in 2015, Marquez had 13 catches while playing in 16 games and starting one of them. As for Thomas, his rookie season has produced two receptions so far as well as nine kickoff returns.
Marquez was limited in workouts all week with a knee injury, and he is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game. Thomas wasn’t on the field at all on Wednesday, and after practicing in a limited fashion on Thursday due to a hip problem, he was unable to workout on Friday. His is doubtful for the 49ers contest.
Neither WR is a key cog in the offensive game plan, but the Los Angeles offense can use all the depth it can get against the worst defense in the NFL.
San Francisco Without Smith And Staley
The 49ers are down two starters on offense, as WR Torrey Smith was placed on the season-ending injured reserve due to lingering concussion issues, while offensive tackle Joe Staley is listed as doubtful with an ongoing hamstring injury. Staley is a five-time Pro Bowl player, and the San Francisco organization doesn’t need to risk him on the field this late in the season with so little to play for right now.
Bradley Marquez, wide receiver (knee)
Maurice Alexander, safety (concussion)
Lamarcus Joyner, cornerback (ankle)
Mike Thomas, wide receiver (hip)