If the San Francisco 49ers are going to sweep the Los Angeles Rams, they need left tackle Trent Williams in the lineup.
Quarterbacks rule the era in the current NFL, but don’t forget about the men keeping them upright.
San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams is the best at his position, a mountain of a man standing on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s blindside. Facing the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game this weekend, Williams will be tasked with helping to keep the pocket clean against an elite trio of pass-rushers in Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Leonard Floyd.
With Williams, it’s a tough task. Without him, it feels damn near impossible.
The bad news? Williams hasn’t practiced all week due to a creaky ankle that was injured last Saturday in a 13-10 win over the Green Bay Packers. The good news? Williams, who is technically listed as questionable for this Sunday, has told head coach Kyle Shanahan he’s going to play.
Shanahan, who spoke with the media on Friday, relayed his thoughts, per ESPN:
“It’s gonna be like it was three weeks ago. I feel the same way as I did at the beginning of the week. He came out for walk-through today and Trent is adamant that he’s going. He was last time, too — which I believe Trent when he says that. He’s going to do everything he can to play and so I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t, but I was surprised last time.
“I was also surprised he was able to finish the game against Green Bay. So, hopefully his mindset will be how his body reacts on Sunday and we know it will help us a lot. But if not, we’ll deal with it.”
With Williams, tight end George Kittle and fullback Kyle Juszczyk, the 49ers have one of the best blocking trios in the league who can open holes for all-purpose weapon Deebo Samuel and rookie running back Elijah Mitchell. If the Niners are going to beat the Rams for the seventh straight time, it’ll likely be because they can overmatch them up front, getting to the second level and beyond.
For San Francisco, a trip to its second Super Bowl in three years largely depends on a 320-pound man’s ankle holding up.