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Aldon Smith says no Ravens scare him

Posted on 31 January 2013 by WNST Staff

LINEBACKER ALDON SMITH

 

(on how well the defense has been playing) “We’ve just been able to put games together and go out there and play good football. I think everybody is playing at a real high form right now, so we’re all in a pretty good spot.”

 

(on the transition from college to the NFL) “It was really just developing as a player. I think in college I could do certain moves and get (to the quarterback) a little bit easier, but at this level, you have to have a repertoire of moves and countermoves for your moves. It was really just developing new moves and new ways to get back there.”

 

(on whether he would say his speed-rush is hit go-to move) “I like power. I pride myself on being physical and punching people in the chest, so I play power. Then I can move on from there.”

 

(on which one of Baltimore’s players scares him) “Nobody scares me. They have some guys that might cause threats, that may make big plays – (Joe) Flacco, (Ray) Rice and Torrey Smith, so we’ll keep our heads up.”

 

(on if he cares what Beyonce sings at halftime) “No, I don’t really care what she sings. She’s a great artist. She does a great job. I kind of wish I could watch it, but I’m alright.”

 

(on whether he likes playing on field turf) “Definitely. You can feel the speed a little bit differently and you don’t have to worry about slipping as much. It’s football, so we’ll see.”

 

(on facing Bryant McKinnie) “He’s a big guy, so you have to make sure he doesn’t get his hands on you.”

 

(on if the Super Bowl atmosphere is what he expected) “I’ve been enjoying it. It’s what I expected. A lot of people are here. It’s an exciting time (and) one of the biggest moments in sports, so it’s a good time.”

 

(on defending against Joe Flacco) “(We have to) make his throws hard, confuse his looks, take away his options, (and) of course, hit him and get pressure on him.”

 

(on if they can take advantage of Joe Flacco’s lack of mobility) “I think that’s definitely something we can take advantage of, not playing somebody who runs as well as the quarterbacks we have faced – get back there, make him uncomfortable and knock him around.”

 

(on the similarities between Baltimore and San Francisco’s linebacker groups) “There are a lot of playmakers. They have a lot of playmakers. We have a lot of playmakers.”

 

(on whether he sees himself as similar to Terrell Suggs) “We both can get to the quarterback. I think I stole his stance. I think we can both get to the quarterback and I think we can both make plays out there.”

 

(on yesterday’s practice) “Yesterday, we put a really good practice together – I can honestly say one of our best practices of the whole year. If we keep putting practices like that together, I’m feeling great.”

 

(on what made yesterday’s practice so good) “It was just the energy, the vibe and everything was done really well. I’ll say it was like the perfect day. Everybody did a good job.”

 

(on his 5.5-sack game against Chicago this season) “Everything was working. Everything was going right. I was working moves, got in the zone and everything I was doing was working. It felt good and I felt like I was honestly doing something right. It was working out.”

 

(on what he will do on Sunday prior to the game) “I’ll probably play some video games, see if I can find a good movie – something to keep my mind calm and stay focused at the same time.”

 

(on if he has had a lot of downtime with the week off) “Not really. We’ve been so busy with practicing, media, and all kinds of things, so it’s not like there’s been a lot of downtime. It’s been a long time since we’ve stepped on the field, but it hasn’t really been that long.”

 

(on whether Joe Flacco’s ability to throw the ball deep makes the pass rush more important ) “I think it makes it that much more important. With a quarterback that can stretch the field like that and the receivers he has to throw it to, it’s definitely important that we get pressure on him.”

 

(on stopping Ray Rice) “Ray Rice does a good job being eusive back there. (He is) able to use his shifty moves to get away from a lot of tackles, so we have to make sure we gang tackle and play as a team.”

 

(on what Ray Lewis has meant to the game) “A lot. He’s definitely been that man at his spot that has done it and changed it for a lot of years. He’s good for the game. He’s made a lot of plays. He’s Ray Lewis.”

 

(on if he dreamed of playing in the Super Bowl as a kid) “Yes, I did actually. Now that I’ve been here, it’s a dream come true. The next step is just winning it.”

 

(on how they came back from a 17-0 deficit at Atlanta in the NFC Championship game) “We never gave up on each other. We knew what our goal was, and that was wanting to get to this game. Everybody was really focused and believed that we could really win, so I think us just going out there and putting a full game together was a thing – not just a couple quarters. We started the game a little rough, but we were able to finish it strong.”

 

(on if he saw that some of the Atlanta players get flustered during their comeback in the NFC Championship game) “You could see it. We were coming back. I think they could feel that we wanted it a little more. They just noticed that. It probably contributed to why they lost the game.”

 

(on if he feels Atlanta choked in the NFC Championship game) “We’re a good team, so it’s not like they got beat by some chump team. We’re a team that plays hard. We work and we’re a good team.”

 

(on what makes Head Coach Jim Harbaugh a good coach) “I think he gets us all ready to play. We enjoy playing for him. He puts good game plans together and the results just come out like that.”

 

(on what aspects are important in stopping Joe Flacco) “You have to make sure you get some pressure on him because he has a good arm and some receivers who can make some big plays.”

 

(on how Ray Rice helps Joe Flacco) “I think Ray helps him out a lot because not only can he hand it off to him, but he can throw it to him on that last checkdown. They can make plays like that.”

 

(on how he can affect the quarterback without sacking him) “The quarterback feels the pressure, every time. He might not go down with the ball in his hands, but he might throw a bad throw, throw it to the wrong receiver, force something bad, or if I’m not getting to him, someone else (might).”

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Aldon Smith hopes to avoid getting “frustrated” by Flacco

Posted on 29 January 2013 by WNST Staff

LINEBACKER ALDON SMITH

 

(on the team’s season) “We’ve had a pretty good season. It has been a trip. We’ve battled through adversity and we are just fortunate to get to this point.”

 

(on what he learned from the experience of losing the NFC championship game last year) “We learned from the mistakes that we made. We really just didn’t want to be in the same position we were last year by losing that game. We all kept that in mind when preparing for the season.”

 

(on dealing with distractions in New Orleans) “We really are just keeping the goals that we have in mind which are to come here and win the Super Bowl, not just to come and play in it. We all want to come here and take advantage of the opportunity we have.”

 

(on the safety of the game) “It’s just football. We all signed up to play football. We didn’t sign up to play tennis or to swim, we signed up to play football. It’s a physical sport and we all know what we signed up for.”

 

(on if Baltimore is different now as compared to earlier this season) “The season is long so lineups change and people change. We’re really out there not to focus on that, but to focus on what we do.”

 

(on studying other lineman) “I do a little bit. I really am just focused on myself and polishing up my game.”

 

(on how he feels about being voted the team’s MVP) “I voted for Randy Moss. I was shocked. There are a lot of good players and a lot of good guys that could have gotten this award. I am on a team full of Pro Bowlers, so it meant a lot. It means a lot for me coming from my team.”

 

(on if he was prepared for media day) “I was prepared for media day, but I really didn’t know it was going to be like this.”

 

(on what it’s like to be at the Super Bowl for the first time) “I like it. It’s a different experience, but a good time. It doesn’t happen a lot. You have to work hard and go the right way. The way things are going at the 49ers, we could be here again.”

 

(on what it’s like to play for Head Coach Jim Harbaugh) “It’s a good time. He’s an intense guy and we feed off of his intensity as a coach. I think it all just works into how we play.”

 

(on the adjustments he’s had to make with teams double teaming him) “I just have to be more consistent. It’s really not adjusting, I just have to get better at what I do. I just want to play my game.”

 

(on facing Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco) “I have to focus on being consistent. I can’t get frustrated just because he has the ability to get the ball out. He’s a good quarterback, so our goal is obviously just to stop him.”

 

(on what makes Baltimore running back Ray Rice unique) “He’s a quick little dude and he’s able to use that to his advantage to get open. He’s able to break tackles and things like that, so we have to contain him.”

 

(on how important it will be to have defensive tackle Justin Smith back) “It’s good for all of us. Justin is a guy that everyone looks to as a leader and it’s good to have him back.”

 

(on what makes Flacco unique) “He has an arm. He can throw the ball and stretch the field. He can create a lot of things with his arm. We have to be aware of that and make his throws a little bit harder.”

 

(on why quarterback Colin Kaepernick is so special) “He can throw and he can run. I think those two things together are lethal, especially in this league. A lot of guys have only one thing where they can run but they can’t throw so well, but he has both of them.”

 

(on what the Mizzou football program does to have so many NFL players come from there) “Mizzou does a good job in preparing us for the NFL. We all get here and we are ready to play. We eagerly accept our roles and we do a good job.”

 

(on Flacco’s ability to play) “Flacco has a big arm and he can stretch the field. He makes good decisions out there.”

 

(on how to stop Ray Rice) “We have a lot of great guys on defense. I think we have six Pro Bowlers on defense so don’t worry about us.”

 

(on what it feels like to be at the Super Bowl) “From whatever age you start to play football at, you have a dream to play in the Super Bowl so being here is a dream come true.”

 

(on if he thinks about not getting fined when he hits a quarterback) “Just don’t hit him in the head is the main thing. You want to tackle him but you want to play the game in the right way. I think this game is a physical game. I think with some of the fines, they could take it down a little bit because we all know what we signed up for.”

 

(on minimizing risks on the field) “I just figure out my goals and do what I want to do. I know how I want to be viewed. I’m a guy that loves this game and I want everyone else to know how much I love this game.”

 

(on the matchup with Baltimore tackle Bryant McKinnie) “He’s a big guy. I just have to play my game and make sure I’m on my a game.”

 

(on how he feels he has been performing) “I’m happy because I feel like I’m doing a lot of other things well. I am covering guys really well and making a lot of plays. I’m still making a difference out there. We’re getting a lot of wins so as long as we’re winning I’m happy.”

 

(on what he expects of his teammates this week) “We just need to focus and put in hard work, that’s what we’re about. We’re where we wanted to be and I know we’re all going to take advantage of this opportunity.”

 

(on how key the defensive line will be in the game) “I think it is key in every game we play. Especially when you face good quarterbacks, it’s important to put pressure on them.”

 

(on how important it is to focus this trip) “I think we want to enjoy the trip, but we’re at the Super Bowl. We’re having fun but we all really know our goal. Our goal is to win the game. It’s cool being at the Super Bowl but we’re here to win the Super Bowl.”

 

(on what the key is to containing Ray Rice) “We just have to play our defense. We’re a defense that stops the line. We need to do what we have been doing all season which is stopping the line.”

 

(on how he and defensive tackle Justin Smith feed off of one another) “We have a friendly competition. When playing with a guy like that you have to bring it every game and you feed off of him.”

 

(on how much Smith has been a mentor to him) “He has made my transition a lot easier. We came from the same college and are from the same area. I know it’s a hard transition to the league but he has made mine easy and he’s been a great help since I’ve been here.”

 

(on keys to stopping Flacco) “Hit him. We have to create pressure on him and make his throws harder. We need to play good defense and be consistent at what we do.”

 

(on what made him a Tennessee Titans fan growing up) “I just liked everyone on their team. They played really physical and fast. They had guys on their team on both sides of the ball who could make plays and were exciting to watch.”

 

(on if it fuels him to not have had a lot of sacks in the past couple of games) “It fuels me. I just stay consistent in what I do. I’m getting double teamed a lot, but it’s alright because somebody else is getting sacked and making a play.”

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Niners LB Smith not sure if John Harbaugh as intense as Jim

Posted on 28 January 2013 by WNST Staff

LINEBACKER ALDON SMITH

(on why being named team MVP means so much to him) “A lot because you have a lot of guys on this team who are all-stars, who have made Pro Bowls consecutively. You have Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, I can go on. I come in my second year and I get the MVP, it means a lot.”

(on how he found out he was named team MVP) “We were all in a meeting together as a team. (Head) Coach (Jim) Harbaugh got up and just went out there and said it.”

(on his relationship with Justin Smith) “Other than our last names being Smith (and) us going to Missouri, from the time I stepped into the NFL, he was the guy who helped me out with everything. I worked out with him during the (2011)-lockout and he helped me a lot just coming in my rookie year. Then on the field, we just work well with each other. We feed off each other. We have a rhythm that we just developed together.”

(on why he has gotten less sacks recently) “A lot more guys coming to block me. I’m getting double-teamed a lot, triple-teamed at times, and then the quarterbacks are getting the ball out fast. Another thing that’s really cool about that is if I’m not making a play, a lot of times I’m getting double-teamed a sack comes from somebody else. I might not get it, but at the end of the day the stats still say it’s a sack.”

(on if he agrees that San Francisco seems to get stronger in the second half) “I do agree with that. We really work hard. We lift a lot. We take good care of ourselves and I think that all just transitions on. We’re not just a team that’s good in the first half; we play four quarters of good football.”

(on if he was surprised he was named team MVP) “Yes, a little bit. Like I said, there are a lot of guys that are good (and) a lot of guys that could have gotten that award. It was an honor.”

(on the quality of linebackers playing in the Super Bowl) “You could say (that) it’s the linebacker bowl, right? There are a lot of guys that can play. You have a lot of guys. You have Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, me, Ray Lewis, (and) Terrell Suggs. There’s going to be a lot of talent out there. That’s where we are.”

(on the demeanor of Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio) “Vic is a calm guy. He’s not one of those coaches that’s yelling at you and doing a lot of vocal. He gets the message across and everybody understands it. We take it and go with it.”

(on if he talked to Michael Strahan while he was chasing his sack record) “No, I actually talked to him before the Atlanta game on the field. We joked around about it. He was kind of giving me a hard time about not getting it. That’s about it.”

(on Head Coach Jim Harbaugh saying every team needs an Aldon Smith on it) “That’s an honor. Coming from Coach Harbaugh, that means a lot. It’s an honor.”

(on President Obama’s comments on the safety of football) “I think the game has been like it always has. It’s a physical game. Everybody plays hard. Guys get hit sometimes and that’s what we all know coming into the game. We all signed up for it. It’s not like we signed up and thought we were going to play tennis. We came out. We’re playing football.”

(on whether the team has talked about the potential distractions of New Orleans) “Really be responsible. We know what our goal is. Our goal is to come in here and win the game, not just to come down here and be at the Super Bowl. We’re coming down here to win the game. We all have that goal, so everybody is just being responsible and doing the right thing.”

(on losing in the NFC Championship last season) “We were so close last year. We were so close. We all know how we felt and we didn’t want that feeling again this year. I think every time we were all together, whether it was for our workouts, just our meetings or just hanging out, we all knew that if we ever got back to this situation, it was not going to end up like that. We want to be here.”

(on how Justin Smith helps him on the field) “It’s attention. He’s a guy that draws a lot of attention. He’s a great player and a Pro Bowl guy. With that, if they’re doubling him, they might single me up. Regardless, we’re all getting a lot of attention and one of us will be free or singled up and we’ll take advantage of it.”

(on the advantage of the two weeks between the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl) “I think the advantage is that you get your body healthy. You get your legs back. The only disadvantage would maybe be the little bit of momentum that kind of gets lost.”

(on the extra attentions he has gotten from opposing offenses) “I really just go out and play. I don’t try to think too much about what they’re doing. I have to play my game. I have to do what I do well to be successful, so my goal is to just go out there and play.”

(on what Randy Moss said to the team before they left) “Everybody respects Randy Moss. Everybody respects his word and what he’s done on the field. He really just kind of kept it simple. We all know our goal. We all know what we really want, so just make the right decisions and be ready to play on Sunday.”

(on what was being said after falling behind by 17 against Atlanta in the NFC Championship) “Not a lot was being said. More so, we all believed in each other. We all knew what our goal was and we all had that understanding that we wanted to come out of there with a win. I think that’s one of the things that propelled us to the win – nobody panicked, nobody second-guessed each other. We just went out there and put four quarters together.”

(on whether playing at the Superdome earlier this season gives the 49ers an advantage) “We’ve been here before. I don’t think that really matters at all. It’s a game. Every game is different, so we’ll see.”

(on the process of getting a sack) “You beat the guy in front of you. Then you go and make the big play. Everybody cheers and you feel good.”

(on Head Coach Jim Harbaugh) “He’s a unique guy. He still thinks he’s a player. He’s really intense. I don’t know John that much, but I don’t know if he’s as intense as his brother.”

(on Coach Fangio and his dry sense of humor) “Vic is a really cool guy. He’s just cool and he doesn’t say a lot. You’re right on his sense of humor. He makes jokes and they’re not really that funny. He thinks they’re funny, but nobody laughs. He gets his message across.”

(on how Coach Harbaugh acts like a player) “You catch him running across the field, throwing the ball and doing little things like he’s still playing. He’s a big kid out there.”

(on who the team looks up to as leaders) “I think we all lead. I think there are a couple guys that have been playing a long time that you can look up to like Justin (Smith) and  (Patrick) Willis, but there are a lot of guys. Everybody is a leader and that’s what makes us really good.”

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Most Important Individual Matchups in Super Bowl XLVII

Posted on 28 January 2013 by jeffreygilley

Super Bowl 47 is filled with many fantastic individual matchups. In this article, I will list what I consider to be the most important matchups as well as who has the edge in that matchup.

Ed Reed VS Colin Kaepernick

Ed Reed’s legacy is on the line in this game. Even without a Super Bowl ring, you could make an argument that Reed is the best safety to ever play the game. So, with a ring, would that even become an argument? That will be discussed no matter the outcome of the Super Bowl.

Kaepernick is not a one trick pony. He can make any throw and loves to throw the ball deep to Vernon Davis. Therefore, Ed Reed should have plenty of opportunities to make plays against a young quarterback.

Ed Reed has two weeks to prepare for this offense. Therefore, I give the advantage to Reed.

Edge: Ed Reed

Ray Lewis VS Frank Gore

Ray Lewis did not play against the 49ers last season. Because of his absence, the 49ers have not played against a linebacker with Ray’s instincts and intensity. While Ray has lost a step, Gore is not the type of player that can consistently break long runs. Therefore, Ray will be able to keep up with Gore.

These two players are simply too good to give the advantage to one player or another. Frank Gore has played against the Ravens twice, once in 2007 and the other in 2011. In those games, Gore has averaged only 45.5 yards rushing. But in those games, Gore’s offensive line was not as talented as it is this season.

Edge: Even

Justin Smith VS Kelechi Osemele

From watching the 49ers postseason games with an injured Justin Smith, it’s no secret that they have struggled to apply pressure. Aldon Smith has struggled mightily since Justin Smith’s injury but when the two are healthy, the two are a terrifying combination.

Justin Smith will be moved around but for the most part, will be matched up with Kelechi Osemele. Osemele played well at tackle but at this point in his career, is better at guard. Osemele is one of the bigger guards in the league and that should help him against Smith.

Osemele will also have to watch out for Aldon Smith, who runs a lot of stunts to the interior of the offensive line.

Despite Osemele’s talent, Smith is a veteran and giving him the edge is a no-brainer.

Edge: Justin Smith.

Bryant McKinnie and Michael Oher VS Aldon Smith

On August 25, the 49ers traveled to New Orleans to play the Saints. In that game, Aldon Smith recorded 1.5 sacks, which gave him 30.5 sacks for his career. This, in turn made him the fastest player to reach 30 sacks. Who did he pass on his way to that record you ask? Reggie White.

Obviously, Smith is doing something right. The supremely athletic linebacker/defensive end seems to play better on big stages and none is bigger than the Super Bowl. Oher should be able to hold his own but the much older McKinnie will have his hands full. On passing downs, expect to see Ray Rice or Vonta Leach in pass protection to help slow down Smith. Running some screens where Rice blocks and then releases on a pass route will also help slow down Smith.

Edge when against McKinnie: Aldon Smith
Edge when against Oher: even

Vonta Leach VS Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman

Of all the matchups in the Super Bowl, this might be the best. In 2011, Leach and Willis exchanged blows and Leach embarrassed Willis on one particular play.

Willis is widely considered the best linebacker in the NFL and Bowman is not far behind him. Expect this to be a back and forth battle for the entire game.

Edge: Even

Conclusion
There are many matchups that are evenly matched. Therefore, this game will come down to lesser-known players making big plays. For the 49ers, the two most likely players to play that role are LaMichael James and Delanie Walker. For the Ravens, Jimmy Smith and Tandon Doss are the most likely candidates.

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