• Evan Sowards

Ask the Experts: Turf Show Times' Brandon Bate

Good morning everyone and happy game day eve! The final San Francisco 49ers game is coming up, as they look to upset another playoff bound team in the Los Angeles Rams. Today we got to chat with Brandon Bate, writer at the SB Nation Blog, Turf Show Times. What did he have to say about the game? Read on to find out!

The Rams have been the benefactors of some of the best coaching the NFL has seen all year, how do you expect this Sunday’s game against the 49ers and all of their starters playing?

I suspect the Rams strong play calling will continue into week 17. Execution is going to a be a wild unknown obviously with the Rams benching a lot of their starters, though the play calling will likely remain strong. In limited time, guys like RB Malcolm Brown, and WR's Pharoh Cooper and Josh Reynolds have looked solid. Going forward, knowing the ability of the depth will be a major positive for the Rams staff.

One of the more exciting matchups this Sunday seems to be Trumaine Johnson and Marquise Goodwin. With Goodwin looking to reach 1,000 yards and arguably his best year. How do you expect that matchup to go?

I expect both players to have their wins and losses throughout the game. Obviously Goodwin has had a career year, and has only improved since the addition of QB Jimmy Garoppolo, though CB Trumaine Johnson is one of the Rams constants over the past six years. Johnson likely won't play very long in the game as he is a key CB (especially with the loss of Kayvon Webster), though they should have some snaps facing off.

The Rams are opting to sit their key players in lieu of the playoffs. What’s your personal opinion on that. Do you think it helps or hurts the play of the team?

I believe it's the right thing to do, and will ultimately help the play of the team. Why? Well, first, the Rams are really going to find out what kind of depth they have in this next week. Not only going forward in the playoffs, but with the offseason around the corner, that'll be a positive. Secondly, and the main benefactor, is the Rams will not risk any further injury to a roster that has seen a handful of injuries come about the past few weeks.

How has the marriage between less sneed and Sean McVay been so far? We know all too well in San Francisco how a bad GM HC relationship can destroy a franchise. Will these two be around for a long time in LA?

Going into the season, it seemed Les Snead was on the hot seat, though if that was the case, the chair has cooled right off. After an up and down tenure partnering with Jeff Fisher, Les Snead's 2017 draft class has seen an immediate impact on the field (without a first round pick), and many players have been key contributors to the Rams success this season. Sean McVay and Les Snead seem to have a very good relationship, and will likely be joined at the hip for the near future.

Sammy Watkins was a early pick in the 2014 draft, the bills new regime moved on from him sending him to LA but he clearly still has talent, does he have a future in LA or will he be a free agent this season?

This was a trade that turned out to a be win-win for both teams, and with that being the case, I do anticipate Sammy Watkins returning for at least the 2018 season. The Rams will have the option to use the franchise tag, allowing a full offseason of work between Watkins and Goff before ultimately committing long-term, though they may ultimately choose to lock in the young and talented WR for a handful of years too.

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