San Francisco 49ers defensive end Justin Smith is amongst the best in the NFL at his position. His strength and relentless style fits perfectly in the 49ers defensive strategy and they need a healthy Smith in order to defeat the Green Bay Packers this weekend.
I’m not saying they can’t win without a Smith, but if he’s not ready to play with his injured triceps muscle, the task gets very difficult for the NFC West division winners. When’s he’s right, Smith takes on double teams and occupies blockers which allows linebackers Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman to roam the field and make plays.
The biggest reason the Niners defense needs a healthy Justin Smith though, is too take attention away from Aldon Smith. Aldon Smith, who had the second most sacks in the league with 19.5 on the year, hasn’t sacked the quarterback in his last three games. Which coincides with Justin Smith’s injury. Smith got hurt on December 16 against the New England Patriots and since that game, Aldon Smith has been shutout in the sack category. Without Justin Smith being on the field, offenses are devoting more blockers to stopping Aldon Smith and it’s working.
It looks like Justin will be ready to go this week for the 49ers but head coach Jim Harbaugh has stated that if Smith doesn’t look right, they will take him out of the game. Niners fans will be holding their breath when the San Fran defense is on the field.
As I said yesterday, one of the keys to winning the game for the 49ers is putting pressure on Aaron Rodgers and it would be a huge help if Justin Smith was healthy enough to be effective. Otherwise it could be a long day for the Niners.
When it comes to sacks the 49ers rely on not one but two Smith’s, and they both need to be healthy if San Francisco is to get to their second consecutive NFC title game. Right now, all signals point to that happening.
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