What They're Saying: 49ers, Rams Preview Week 16 Matchup

The 11-3 San Francisco 49ers are set to play the Los Angeles Rams in the Levi's® Stadium regular season finale on "Saturday Night Football." Here's what both locker rooms are saying ahead of the divisional matchup.

Niners Liners

Kyle Shanahan on what makes the Rams so difficult to face:

"They're very talented. They're very well-coached. I think over this last month they've been playing as good of football as anyone in the league. I think until the Sunday game got a little out of hand, they had a top-10 offense, a top-10 defense before that. They have a very good special teams. So, talent and coaching."

QB Jimmy Garoppolo on what the Rams are doing differently compared to when they played in Week 6:

"Well, obviously, some different personnel. Dealing with trades, injuries, whatever it is. They're playing fast right now, their defense is. They've got, obviously up front, (Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle) Aaron's (Donald) unbelievable, but that whole D-line as a group is very talented. They make it difficult on you. We've got to play on time, get the ball out on time and things like that."

Garoppolo on the challenges of playing against Jalen Ramsey:

"He'll match receivers, he'll stay on his side, so we kind of have to feel it out as the game gets started, but he's a hell of a player. Jalen, he really is. He doesn't make any throws easy for you, challenges everything, he's long. He really does a good job."

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh on the matchup against the Rams offense:

"Their running game, if they can get it going, is still good. I think they do a really good job in their zone schemes. They run a, I call it crunch, it's like a power without a puller. They run that scheme very well, so they've got a really good run game, especially crack toss. They do all that stuff. The jet sweeps. The key to that thing is just making sure that we're disciplined in our gaps, setting edges, knocking people back, penetrating with our D-Line and making sure that we're doing a good job keeping the back from being able to press the line of scrimmage so he can roll back and making sure that we're disciplined on the back side. It's always a challenge when you play the zone scheme that they've got, because they're so efficient. (Head coach) Sean (McVay) and his offense are so efficient at running it and they're so good at running it that it's very important that we're very disciplined in our fits and making sure that we understand what we're trying to get done from a schematic standpoint."

Saleh on how the team is preparing to cover tight end Tyler Higbee:

"They're doing a good job just getting him involved in the game plan. Obviously, they're making it a point to give him the football and he's been balling. We do have to be aware of where he is and understand that he's not just a decoy, but him and (Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared) Goff right now have a good relationship and they're playing very well together."

CB Richard Sherman on the defense's mindset going into the final stretch of the regular season:

"I think guys are feeling great. I don't think guys are concerned at all. It's good to get things sharper and get a wake up call and get out there and experience it. I think guys feel great. Guys got to execute. We're a play a way. We're a tipped ball away. We're a communication away from winning the game. Guys aren't down in the dumps about these last games. Guys understand the level we can play at and we just need to play cleaner."

LB Fred Warner on defending running back Todd Gurley II:

"We obviously didn't get to play him the first time around, but I remember from last season the dude is an outstanding back. His balance. His burst through the hole. He's a slasher. He gets downhill in a hurry. We just have to make sure he doesn't get going."

Rams Quotes

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay on what the 49ers defense did to slow down Jared Goff in the first meeting:

"They did a great job. They're a great defense, they're one of the top defenses in the league and they've got one of the better pass-defenses. Arguably, you just look at the numbers, they're up there in league history. They've done a great job. I think there are some things that we've got to do a better job of. We were able to get some runs off in that first drive, but all-in-all, when you look at it, they did a great job getting after us. There weren't really many positives other than those first seven plays on that first drive. (Los Angeles Rams running back) Darrell (Henderson Jr.) had a couple big runs, but when you get stopped, when you're on the 6-inch yard line. and when you fumble the opening play coming out of the second half, it's tough to beat an excellent football team like this. Hopefully, we'll have a better showing, but we certainly know what a great challenge it will be, because of what a great job (49ers defensive coordinator) Robert Saleh does leading the way, and then all the great players that they have executing the scheme."

McVay on his expectations for Todd Gurley II on Saturday:

"I think just playing like what we expect him to. Whenever his number is called, doing a good job of just being efficient, seeing things the right way, leveling things off, being able to create some stuff on his own, if that's what the look dictates, and being sound in protection. Just playing his position the right way snap in and snap out."

McVay on what has made Richard Sherman a great player:

"I think you can see – very talented, he's (Sherman) got great concept recognition, elite ball skills. That's the one thing that you see with him. Then, he seems like a guy that, when he does recognize those concepts, he's excellent in being able to trigger and you feel like, 'All right, this might be a guy that's a good double-move candidate.' But, he seems like he's always ready for those. Plays with good technique. You can see he plays with great vision back to the quarterback and he understands how the quarterback's timing – in terms of his footwork, his drops – are married with route combinations and where that ball can come out. I think that's why you see some elite production from him. You look at a couple of the picks that he's had this year, it's great concept recognition. He'll come up and tackle. He's a complete player, he's been doing it at a high level for a long time. When you get a chance to talk to him a little bit, this is a player that has a really unique, big-picture understanding – extremely intelligent. I've always been a big fan of him and very impressed with what he's done. It's not surprising, but he's playing at a high level."

McVay on Jimmy Garoppolo's growth this season:

"You can see, like anything else, he's using his experience to truly gain an ownership, an understanding of what they are trying to get done. I remember even just watching their Thursday night game against Arizona, and how impressed I was with just his poise, his ability to operate, create some off-schedule plays – really within the framework of the pocket on some third-and-longs. Always been impressed with just his ability when things collapse around him, his ability to speed it up, where he's a really natural thrower of the football. Doesn't necessarily need a clean platform to get it out, but his upper body, just his twitch and his ability to be able to see something, be able to get it to a guy in a timely manner, has been an impressive thing. I think they do a great job of extenuating his skillsets. Kyle (Shanahan) is a guy that I've learned a lot from. I think he's one of the best. You see he's got a great feel for what his players skillsets are, and then how he can also use those to really put pressure on defenses, with a multitude of looks – some different personnel groupings. I think Jimmy's executed their system excellent."

QB Jared Goff on how much of a difference it will be to have Gurley II available against the 49ers:

"It's big. He's one of our best players and one of our guys that we want to get the ball to. If we can get him rolling – it's always one of our goals – and no different this week."

RB Todd Gurley II on playing the 49ers:

"I don't even know. That was like Week 4 (Week 6) so I couldn't even tell you. I haven't even played against the 49ers – I feel like I always miss them like once a year, even my rookie year I didn't play against them. It's always a good feeling. I feel like when I do play against them I usually do fairly well. Triple hitter Saturday, so looking forward to it."

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips on the 49ers addition of Emmanuel Sanders:

"I'm very familiar with Emmanuel Sanders. He's obviously a really good receiver. His knowhow, he's savvy, he recognizes coverages real well, he knows where the weaknesses are, he knows where to run to, he's tremendous on bump-and-run throws, over the outside shoulder and then throw-behind passes – he's adept at most things. He helped me get a (Super Bowl) ring, so I'm a fan of his as far as that's concerned, but not this week."

T Andrew Whitworth on the importance of establishing the run against the 49ers:

"I think it has to be there. You look throughout the league right now, it looks to be that these teams that can run the football and run it well seem to dominate games and really be in control of games. For us, in the past that's always been the case. I think it's really part of the game right now. A lot of the teams that are successful can run the football well. For us, we've got to be able to do that and give our defense a chance to be off the field some. Possess the football a little bit. I think that when we run it well, we score well."

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