Tag Archive | "Justin Smith"

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Justin Smith says Niners must gang-tackle

Posted on 30 January 2013 by WNST Staff

DEFENSIVE END JUSTIN SMITH

 

(on his time in Cincinnati) “I enjoyed my time there; I’ve got a lot of friends (there). We didn’t win a ton of games there, but I learned a lot about football from Dick LeBeau to Marvin Lewis and Jay Hayes and those types of guys that I learned from. It was definitely part of my growing process.

 

(on Ahmad Brooks’ growth as a player) “As a football player he has matured, as well as a person. His ability to make plays and change direction is something you don’t see in a lot of people, he is a crazy athlete. It’s all started to come together in the last couple of years for him.

 

(on playing against the 49ers offensive line) “We do it in training camp, it’s no fun. They are a good group across the board; they’ve got the right amount of nasty dudes, and they’ve got the right mix. They’re smart guys, they always give us crap because they say we always go right or left, and they have to know a bunch of stuff. They are the right mix of dudes. I thinks getting Alex Boone in there, really cemented it, with his mentality, the way he goes about stuff. Joe Staley, really leading the group, the way he plays. Mike Iupati, (Jonathan) Goodwin, that mentality on that side sets that offensive line apart.

 

(on preparing for Tyrod Taylor) “We worked on the pistol, the option, in case he was to get in and in case they have him in certain packages. We worked on those adjustments and what we do and how we would stop them.

 

(on how much his tendon is torn) “I’m not sure the exact percentage, I think 50 or something. A little bit over maybe.

 

(on surgery and rehab) “I really haven’t gone to the doctors yet. I figure I will do that after the Super Bowl.”

 

(on retiring) “I’m not going to retire after this year; I would like to come back and try to get here (the Super Bowl) again. I realize my career is definitely winding down. I’m not saying I’m going to play another eight years or something like that. I want to play at a high level. I don’t want to just be a back-up guy a mentor-guy. I want to help the guys as much as possible, show them all of the stuff I’ve learned from other guys. It’s all just passing the torch, everything you learn from the coaching staffs. I want to do that while I’m playing. These guys will be in good hands. I mean, that room is a good group of guys, good football players and a good football coach in (Defensive Line Coach) Jim Tomsula. Any time you’ve got a Ray McDonald in your room, you’ve got Issac (Sopoaga) in there, Ricky Jean (Francois) coming up, they are in good hands.”

 

(on how much being at the Super Bowl means after a long career) “I think I appreciate it more, being older than if I was younger. If you’re younger you’re just like ‘Ok, get in the league, play a couple of years then you go to a Super Bowl.’ I think everybody has a different experience, a different process and this is mine, so I appreciate it a little bit more. I know how hard it is to get to this game; getting to the NFC championship last year, then being able to get back, appreciating the whole process and how much goes into it as well, how much work, how much work we have done as a team. Not only the talent level that is in that locker room, but the coaching staff as well that brings it all together to get to these spots.”

 

(on stopping Ray Rice) “I think the main thing is you’ve got to gang tackle the guy, not let him get through the line of scrimmage. Once he gets on the smaller guys, it’s kind of a mismatch in the secondary, because he’s so powerful and elusive. They do a lot of things with him, catching out of the backfield, throwing to him, he’s a big checkdown route for him. They get him the ball in about every poissible way they can.”

 

(on getting to practice today) “It will be good. We went over there yesterday and got a workout in. It will just be good to get back in the normal routine.”

 

(on this team’s mentality) “It’s a good group of guys who just pulled together and kept that momentum going from last year and rode it in to this year and got back to the NFC Championship Game and we were able to get over the hump and now we are here in the Super Bowl.”

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Super Bowl XLVII – Wednesday, January 30, 2013

 

QUOTES FROM SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS MEDIA SESSION

 

MORE DEFENSIVE END JUSTIN SMITH

 

(on who will win) “This game is going to be about physicality. The winner is going out-physical whoever they are playing. I think it’s just going to be about the physicality of the game.”

 

(on the challenge of playing in the Super Bowl) “I think it will be just like any other game. We will be going over our pictures, seeing what they’re trying to do, how they attack us, and how we can stop the offense and not really worry about all of that other stuff.”

 

(on his technique of rushing the passer) “You are working in a phone booth in there. You’ve got to deal with the center, so you don’t have a lot of room for moves, which works out good for me since I don’t have any. I try to go right through them.”

 

(on going against the Ravens offensive line) “They are a talented group of offensive linemen. They are about as similar to our group as it is. They are big. They are physical. They come off of the ball. They run their zone scheme exceptionally well. The running back knows how to cut off of them. It’s just a group effort and they play well together.”

 

(on the last two years) “Football is all about winning. I’ve enjoyed the last couple years, we’ve won a lot of games over these two years. It would be hard not to enjoy.”

 

(on converting from a 4-3 defensive end a 3-4 defensive end) “I gained some weight, the abs are gone. As you get slower they keep moving you in. If I’m ever playing nose guard it’s probably the end.”

 

(on getting on the practice field) “It’s good, we get done with this stuff (media) and get back to football and get back to what you’re down here for.”

 

(on having two weeks to prepare) “I don’t think it’s beneficial since both teams had the week off. It is what it is, you go with what they give you. This is the schedule. This is what we’re both on and both teams will be ready to play on Sunday.”

 

(on Ahmad Brooks’ work ethic) “Ever since he got here, he has worked hard. I remember in Cincinnati he was a talented guy and he worked there, but he has really taken it up to a different level when he got to San Francisco. He said getting cut was the worst thing that ever happened to him and was really an eye-opener for him. He has used it for motivation. He has busted his ass every day, got in the starting lineup and been going full-speed ahead ever since. He’s a big part of our lineup.”

 

(on getting pressure on Joe Flacco) “I think there are different things you can do. Being prepared for how they are going to attack us and do some stuff to counter.”

 

(on the 49ers advantages over the Ravens) “The advantage of knowing what we have to do to stop them. We know their game plan and we know how we are going to attack it. We are just going to try and shut the run game down.”

 

(on getting turnovers) “It’s something that (Defensive Coordinator) Vic Fangio and (Secondary Coach) Ed Donatell talk about all the time. It’s no secret if you win the turnover differential you have a better chance of winning. I think it’s something that if you put in the front of your mind you have a better chance. When you are going to make a tackle, consciously (trying) to go for that strip, go for that punch out. When you go for that sack, don’t just get that guy down, but go for the ball. You’ve got to be careful how you go for the ball around the quarterback, but go for the ball and try to get it out. They put a stat on the board yesterday that winning the Super Bowl, a plus-three (turnover) differential is 100 percent.”

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Super Bowl XLVII – Wednesday, January 30, 2013

 

QUOTES FROM SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS MEDIA SESSION

 

MORE DEFENSIVE END JUSTIN SMITH

 

(on what changed the team into a Super Bowl contender) “We go to Philadelphia, they are up 20-0 at halftime, and we are able to come back.  I think it just kind of cemented this group, like ‘OK, we’ve got something here, let’s keep rolling. We are not feeling our way through the season anymore. We are starting to believe.’ That winning attitude starts coming out. Even in Atlanta, we are down 17-0, the sideline never wavered. It’s just a testament to the guys and the confidence and ability of this team to come back; score, stop them and get it fixed.”

 

(on Baltimore’s offensive scheme) “They are pretty similar to what Indy used to do. They like to run the stretch scheme, make the corners and safeties have to come up and make tackles, really get on the perimeter. Those guys make a couple of tackles then they go over their head with the play action. I don’t see them changing and I don’t see us changing. We know what they are going to do and we are going to try and stop the run with a little bit lighter box. If we can do that we are going to have a good day, and if we can’t do that, we are going to have a rough day.”

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Niners DT Smith expects battle with McKinnie Sunday

Posted on 29 January 2013 by WNST Staff

DEFENSIVE TACKLE JUSTIN SMITH

 

(on Linebacker Aldon Smith winning the MVP award) “He’s a tremendous player and he won our MVP, rightfully so. I don’t think [he was] too shocked. I think that’s how everybody felt that should have gone.”

 

(on Missouri players going to the NFL) “I think that’s just a testament of how that program has turned around. Somebody told me there were four or five Missouri guys playing in the NFC Championship game. I think it’s just a matter of the team turnaround. The program has been in place there for a while now and it’s just been helping dudes out.”

 

(on his triceps injury) “It feels alright. It’s coming along and I’ll be ready to get it fixed next week. It’s holding up alright.”

 

(on playing through pain during the game) “There are things to do about the pain so I really don’t feel the pain during the game. I think the brace definitely limits you.”

 

(on Missouri joining the SEC) “I think it will be good for them. That’s the conference everybody wants to play in. They think that’s the stepping stone to the NFL. I think anytime you can get in that conference, start recruiting and competing in that conference, it’ll be much better.”

 

(on dealing with a long season) “Nobody is 100% healthy. Just physically, you just get kind of worn down as the year goes on. But it is the last game and I think everybody is going to be [worn down]. Once you’re out there, you are worried about the then and no. You feel it on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday then you go on from there.”

 

(on playing better after getting hurt in the Atlanta game) “I think, as a whole we played better. We have one more week to go. They’re [Baltimore Ravens] built kind of exactly how we are. They’re going to try to run the ball and take shots. We have to make sure we stop them. They have an o-line that’s really good as well.”

 

(on synergy with Linebacker Aldon Smith) “I think it’s easy. Anytime you work with a great player, it makes it that much easier. We play well together, we work well together. Anytime you play with a tremendous player like that it makes it easy.”

 

(on Atlanta Falcons’ defensive coordinator Mike Nolan describing him as a top-five NFL player) “I mean, coming from a guy like Mike Nolan, that’s an honor just to hear him say that. He’s one of the most respected defensive coordinators in the league. He was the head coach that brought me in here. I have a ton of respect for him and I appreciate that.”

 

(on playing for Missouri) “I think anybody’s college years help shape them. I had a good experience there. I went there my freshman year and we went to a bowl game. Then the next two years weren’t so hot but that’s the way it happens sometimes. I learned a lot from the coaches there and have taken that with me.”

 

(on the competition in the Super Bowl) “I think both offenses are similar in what they want to do. Run the ball, take your shots. They want to establish the run, we want to establish the run. I think it’s going to be important we shut them down. That’s going to be tough to do but that’s what we have to do.”

 

(on if he thought the season was over when he got injured) “When I felt it pop, I didn’t know what to think because I’ve never felt that before, a tendon popping like that. I knew I was hurt. I came out, tried to go back in for the play and didn’t have anything. I’m surprised it got back as good as it did in those couple of weeks.”

 

(on San Francisco defensive line coach Jim Tomsula) “I think a lot of the things we do on the defensive front, a lot of teams really don’t shift with other teams as they’re shifting. I think he’s come in, taught us how to do that [in terms of] what to look for and really [what] play formations as opposed to just playing the defense. He’s knowledgeable with all that and he knows the 3-4 inside and out.”

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Super Bowl XLVII – Tuesday, January 29, 2013

 

QUOTES FROM SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS MEDIA DAY

 

MORE DEFENSIVE TACKLE JUSTIN SMITH

 

(on San Francisco Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula’s demeanor) “He’s a fiery guy. He’s not just a rah-rah  guy, there’s a lot more to him than that. He knows his stuff so you don’t have to yell and just jump around all the time. You can actually talk. He’ll give us some information, some input, how we’re going to shut it down and that’s what I appreciate about him.”

 

(on San Francisco Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula becoming a Defensive Coordinator) “I’m actually kind of shocked that he isn’t right now, honestly. The success this team has had, I think it’s pretty well known around the league how much he knows. He was the interim head coach here, but sometimes those things just take a little bit of time. That’s another one of the reasons it’d be nice to win the Super Bowl; players, staff included are trying to get cherry picks. We’ll try to keep this thing together as long as possible and hopefully we’ll being this one home.”

 

(on his surgery) “I think they just get in there and sew it back down. Reattach the tendon, sew it in and start my rehab.”

 

(on wearing a brace during games) “I don’t like the brace. It’s just weird. It’s cumbersome but a lot of guys play with leg braces, elbow braces, shoulder braces, torn labrums, you know we have a lot of guys playing with torn stuff.”

 

(on the Ravens offensive line) “I mean they move them around. They flipped Michael Oher, they have Bryant McKinnie in there now. They moved their guard situation around with some injury. They have what’s working for them now. They’re running the ball effectively. They max it up, they take their shots deep. The reason they can do that is they’re running the ball effectively. They get that safety dropped in the box then you go over their heads. That’s a testament to their o-line. They’re built a lot like we are. They thrive behind their offensive line, same as we do.”

 

(on reaction to being hurt) “If you’re hurt, you’re hurt. It’s not like I had the flu or something like that and I couldn’t play the game. I knew I was hurt. I couldn’t do anything with it. I couldn’t do a pushup so I sure as hell wasn’t going to get out on the field and start getting mollywhopped. I’ve never been injured before so I always thought you could go with a sprained ankle, hairline fracture, stuff like that is no big deal. But with that one [his triceps injury] I knew I was going to be on the shelf for a little bit.”

 

(on whether the defense is establishing an identity even though it is an offense driven league)  “You know I think the main thing is just winning the championship. I don’t think we’re too concerned with stamping stuff and this and that. The main thing is get the win, play solid football and everybody play their role. We don’t have a bunch of guys looking for the credit or ‘Are we going to be known as this defense, that defense?’ I think it’s just a bunch of guys that are talented going out playing well together and we’re well coached.”

 

(on health focus of football related injuries) “For me personally, I played this game in high school and college. I think the game just teaches you too much. When this whole thing started happening about concussions and this and that, I don’t think anybody really felt that threatened about it. As it keeps building momentum, in my opinion, I would hate for the game to get fundamentally changed because of it [injuries]. It teaches you too much. I think it teaches a young kid in high school or middle school discipline, toughness, accountability, work ethic. I think there is too much to be had from the game than to worry about this and that. I think there are all types of occupations that are just as hazardous or more hazardous; they just don’t have the spotlight on them. I definitely would be all for my kids playing football if they choose to. I don’t really see the harm in it.”

 

(on Ray Lewis’ leadership and if players without long careers can be leaders) “Absolutely. Rah-rah doesn’t get you anywhere. I think everybody gravitates and looks for leaders that are great players. That’s why we have a ton of great leaders on our team. You lead by example. You lead by how you handle yourself during the week, how you work out, how you prepare, and how you play. That’s what we look for and that’s what I look for.”

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Super Bowl XLVII – Tuesday, January 29, 2013

 

QUOTES FROM SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS MEDIA DAY

 

MORE DEFENSIVE TACKLE JUSTIN SMITH

(on how attention to Aldon Smith affects him) “I think the correlation is anytime there’s success like that, especially with Aldon on that side, you draw attention. I think when they sit down the first thing an offensive coordinator or head coach is going to say is, ‘How do we slow 99 down?’ and that brings a lot of attention over there. Teams change their scheme up when they play us; that is pretty noticeable so that’s the main factor.”

 

(what he has to do to get pressure on Joe Flacco) “I think what they do is they can run the ball so effectively that they can max it up, max pro it. They run the same protection they run their counter plays out of and they throw it over your head because the safety is biting on the run. That’s the key. [I have to] stop the run. Stop the run, stop the run with a seven man box, try to not get in the eight man boxes, play a light box, and have the safeties deep. That’s going to be a tough job but that’s what we have to do to win the game.”

 

(on Baltimore Ravens Tackle Bryant McKinnie) “McKinnie has been a good player in this league for a long time. [He] came out as a high draft pick in ’02 and he’s played well. I think with the opportunity he sees with the Super Bowl and the run they’ve been on, when a great player wants to play, they can play. He’s out there playing really good football right now.”

 

(on Colin Kaepernick and the offensive line) “I think number one, it starts with the offensive line. What those guys have been able to do, the lanes they’ve been able to create and then you get Colin back there; I know from a defensive standpoint, he is a nightmare. He can take off run, you have to watch your pass rush lane, and then when you play him to where he can’t rush or run the ball, he’s going to throw it all over you. He’s just an all-around threat and a huge reason why we’re here.”

 

(on what a Super Bowl win would mean to him) “It’d be unreal. I mean, you play this game for so long, then you start thinking ‘When are we going to get there, when are we going to get the opportunity?’ To finally be here is pretty crazy. The main thing is you want to win the game. You never remember who lost the game.”

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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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Changes for the Ravens and 49ers Since the First Harbaugh Bowl

Posted on 21 January 2013 by jeffreygilley

New England and Denver fans were wrong. The Ray Lewis retirement party did not start on January 12 or January 20. Instead, the Ravens will be playing the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl!!!

This will not be the first time the Harbaugh brothers have coached against each other. They played in Baltimore week twelve of the 2011 season, on Thanksgiving night.

The game was dominated by the Ravens’ front seven as they registered nine sacks. Alex Smith is still having nightmares courtesy of Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, and Corey Redding.

Things have changed on both sides of the ball for the Ravens and 49ers. Most of which, are similar.

Similar Changes:
1.Regression on defense
Last year’s game was advertised as a defensive battle and did not disappoint. However, both defenses have regressed. The 49ers defense was impenetrable in 2011, especially against the run.

This year’s 49ers defense is still great, but not dominant like last season. They are giving up almost three more points per game, and are a top five defense in only one category, which is rushing yards allowed per game.

The Ravens on the other hand have suffered a serious regression on defense, at least until the past few weeks. Still, the defense is not up to par with last season’s.

In addition to the injuries the team has suffered, players like Pernell McPhee, Jimmy Smith (when he has played), Terrence Cody, and Courtney UpShaw have not lived up to expectations.

2.Significant changes on offense
Remember when the Ravens replaced Tony Banks with Trent Dilfer in 2000? Well the 49ers have made a similar change from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has only started nine games but is mature beyond his years. Not only is he a dynamic athlete, he can throw the ball with great velocity and accuracy.

Many Ravens fans rejoiced with the firing of Cam Cameron. After the Broncos game in week fifteen, the changes on offense did not look very promising. Flacco and Jim Caldwell responded the next week with one of the greatest games of Flacco’s career against the Giants.

Since Jim Caldwell took over, Flacco has completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,142 yards, has thrown 10 touchdowns, and ZERO interceptions. (I did not count the Bengals game since Flacco did not play for a majority of the game).

What I like about Caldwell’s offense is his ability to find mismatches and attack them. With Cam Cameron, he seemed conservative at times and did not have a good relationship with Joe Flacco. In contrast, Caldwell makes tremendous adjustments to find mismatches. Once that has happened, the offense has been dominant.

If the Ravens keep it close through the first half, the offense will eventually find favorable match-ups against a defense that Flacco had success against last season.

3.Both offensive lines have improved
As I said multiple times, the Ravens defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage the last time these two teams played. Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, and Corey Redding could do anything they wanted. Luckily for the 49ers, Redding is with the Colts, and Ngata and Suggs are not playing at 100 percent.

Despite the Ravens injuries, this should be a good battle with great individual matchups. Perhaps the best of which will be Mike Iupati against Haloti Ngata. Iupati is a young player but is already one of the best guards in the league. Despite Iupati’s talent, Ngata should win this battle more often than not.

Some question if the Ravens can handle the 49ers physical running attack. I guess they have forgotten the Ravens play in the AFC North. They will be able to handle this running game and should have success stopping Frank Gore.

Remember last year’s AFC Championship when Vince Wilfork dominated Matt Birk? Well the same can’t be said for last Sunday night. Birk played well but Kelechi Osemele played just as well.

He is bigger than Ben Grubbs, who left for New Orleans via free agency and also struggled against Wilfork. When Osemele was matched up with Wilfork, he more than held his own. Osemele should be matched up with Justin Smith for most of the game and will be able to hold his own physically.

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