The Los Angeles Rams spent their entire week addressing questions about a key All-Pro they had to counter in Deebo Samuel — the same Samuel who has scored seven career touchdowns against the Rams.
But now, plans will change following a pivotal announcement made by the San Francisco 49ers on the afternoon of Friday, October 28.
Deebo Samuel’s Playing Status Revealed for Week 8
The 49ers officially announced that the 2021 Pro Bowler and All-Pro has been ruled out of the lineup for the upcoming Week 8 tilt against the Rams.
The early warning sign on the 49ers’ end was there at the beginning of their practice via ESPN 49ers reporter Nick Wagoner.
“49ers WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring) not on the field for the third straight days during early open portion of practice. Not a good sign for his availability on Sunday against the Rams but Kyle Shanahan will have his official status in about an hour,” Wagoner tweeted.
Again as Wagoner shared, Samuel had been hampered with a hamstring ailment which surfaced following the 49ers’ 44-23 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Samuel was on the field for 67 offensive plays including 45 on passing situations according to Pro Football Focus.
The Athletic’s Matt Barrows then helped confirm the status of Samuel.
The Rams had members addressing the L.A. media about the matchup with Samuel — including details on how to counter the “wide back” for the 49ers.
“We kind of know how they’re going to use him and how they use him and where he’s going to be and the way they try to get them in certain positions get the ball in his hand, just let him work,” Aaron Donald told reporters on Thursday, October 27 at the Rams’ Thousand Oaks facility. “And that comes down to when he’s got the ball, we’ve got to tackle. We can’t miss tackles and allow him to break the runs and long screens on us. So we do that and everyone swarms to the ball, we will be fine.”
Head coach Sean McVay added on Friday “Kyle [Shanahan] does a good job utilizing their skill sets. But with Deebo, George [Kittle] and really Christian [McCaffrey], guys who can make all types of plays with the ball in their hands at different types of the field. With Deebo — his contact, balance and strength and competitiveness, he’s a legitimate receiver and legitimate football player.”
Who Likely Gets the Ball Now for the 49ers
It was already a given that McCaffrey would be getting more than the 22 offensive plays he was involved in during his 49ers debut in Week 7.
But now, it’s a guarantee he’s going to see more than that number of snaps…and take the load meant for Samuel.
This is likely going to mean the 49ers will turn to him on the screen passes that have torched the Rams in the past, plus put him in a position where “Run CMC” can potentially draw one of the younger Rams defenders and aim to create a mismatch — with this play from the October 3 contest as an example:
The 49ers, though, have more than just Samuel sidelined. Leading rusher from last season Elijah Mitchell is out. The 49ers are also missing fellow All-Pro representative on offense Kyle Juszczyk. S.F also listed a fellow starting wide receiver opposite of Samuel as questionable.