49ers' Deebo Samuel, Trent Williams on Track to Play vs. Rams in NFC Title Game

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 26, 2022

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) runs the ball during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel was cleared to practice Wednesday, while left tackle Trent Williams is leaving the door open to compete in the NFC Championship Game.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Samuel was good to work out, but Williams was absent because of an ankle injury. Still, Shanahan expressed optimism about the nine-time Pro Bowler's availability for Sunday's matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.


"I know he believes he's playing, and so do I."<br><br>-Kyle Shanahan on Trent Williams <a href="https://t.co/jZZskwhfxD">pic.twitter.com/jZZskwhfxD</a>

Williams was on the field for 53 plays in San Francisco's divisional round win over the Green Bay Packers, but fans were concerned after reports that he needed crutches following the game.

Shanahan said Monday that X-rays on Williams' injured ankle came back negative.

Similarly, Samuel came out of that game a little worse for wear thanks to a hit to his knee from the helmet of the Packers' Jaire Alexander.

The 49ers are 3.5-point underdogs at DraftKings Sportsbook, and having Williams and Samuel on the field will be critical for San Francisco to pull off the upset.

Williams earned his first All-Pro nod this season, and his 98.3 grade by Pro Football Focus was the highest of any offensive tackle.

"I do feel more comfortable than I've ever felt," he told reporters in December. "I do feel like I'm the strongest I've ever been. I do feel like I'm as—for lack of a better word—smart, I guess you would say, football-wise. My football IQ is probably better than it's ever been."

Without Williams patrolling the left side of the offensive line in a Week 18 victory over the Rams, Jimmy Garoppolo was sacked three times. Aaron Donald was held without a sack but did have one tackle for loss and one hit on Garoppolo.

Samuel, meanwhile, might be the most valuable player on the team. The third-year wideout caught 77 passes for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns in the regular season. He carried the ball 59 times as well for 365 yards and eight scores.

The 6'0", 215-pound playmaker is dynamite with the ball in his hands, and he's Shanahan's failsafe when the offense needs to make something happen.

San Francisco 49ers @49ers

That's 'Wide Back' <a href="https://twitter.com/19problemz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@19problemz</a> for the tuddy 💰 <br><br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SFvsDAL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SFvsDAL</a> on CBS/Nickelodeon/49ers App <a href="https://t.co/XmnzceVHFY">pic.twitter.com/XmnzceVHFY</a>

The aforementioned win over Los Angeles was a great showcase of what Samuel brings to the table. He totaled 140 yards and one touchdown from scrimmage and even found Jauan Jennings for a 24-yard touchdown pass.

As long as he's on the field, the 26-year-old will be a big part of Shanahan's game plan.

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