With outside linebacker Aldon Smith out indefinitely, the San Francisco 49ers will look to veteran Dan Skuta to step up in his place. Will the former undrafted player be able to handle the role in place of Smith?
The 27-year-old understands all eyes will be on him Thursday night against the St. Louis Rams. Considering Smith has been very productive in three games this season, it will certainly be noticeable if Skuta is not effective coming off the edge. The good news is he does not look at it as new pressure to perform in a starting role, but rather, the same expectations to play at a high level when on the field.
“I’ve never thought of it as starting or not starting,” Skuta said, according to 49ers.com. “If you’re in the game a lot, you’re playing a lot.”
Skuta will do whatever the San Francisco coaching staff asks of him against St. Louis. He will line up where he is supposed to and get after quarterback Sam Bradford to the best of his ability. After watching the way Smith plays with defensive tackle Justin Smith, Skuta understands what it takes to be successful on defense.
“I’ve always paid attention to how they played together and they did a great job there together with all their communication and stunts and,” Skuta told 49eres.com, “if we get that opportunity, I’d like to do that stuff.”
Personally, I believe fans should expect to see a career game out of Skuta. He is a player that has had to work hard for everything that he has achieved. To be given an opportunity to start for one of the best defenses in the league is something he simply will not put to waste.