The last time Aldon Smith was on the field for the San Francisco 49ers, Jim Harbaugh‘s team was in a tough spot with a 1-2 overall record. After a drunk driving incident in late September, Smith was forced to spend five weeks in an Alcohol Treatment Center. Now, Smith is cleared to play in the team’s Week 10 matchup with the surging Carolina Panthers, a team that has won four straight games.
As of late, Smith’s on-the-field dominance has taken a back seat to his off-the-field issues. However, NFL fans know that Smith is an absolute beast when it comes to rushing the passer. For instance, Smith has amassed 38 sacks since 2011, which is the second-highest total for any defensive player in that time frame. Nonetheless, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said on Thursday “I’m sure he will play some,” when asked about Smith’s status for the 49ers’ massive bout with the Panthers.
Cam Newton is rolling right now and the 49ers have struggled getting to the passer in recent weeks. Since Smith was forced to leave the team, San Francisco has only sacked the quarterback five times. And without a consistent pass rush, the Panthers’ offense is going to have a field day on Sunday.