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Monday’s Locker Room Talk: Oct. 17

Posted by Taylor Price on October 17, 2011 – 2:17 PM

Leadership within the 49ers locker room won’t let the team get overconfident after starting the season 5-1 heading into the bye week.

But those veterans within the walls of 4949 Centennial Blvd. admittedly have been impressed with the contributions from some of the team’s youngest players.

Two in particular, rookies Aldon Smith and Chris Culliver have especially caught the attention of their teammates in recent weeks.

Smith, a pass-rushing linebacker, recorded a career-high 2.0 sacks (one caused a Detroit safety), four tackles and a forced fumble against the Lions. This came one week after Smith was named Pepsi’s Rookie of the Week for his strong performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Smith leads all rookies with 5.5 sacks on the season, and leads the 49ers in sacks, too.

The contributions from Smith, a rookie out of Missouri selected No. 7 overall has also impressed a fellow Missouri football alum, who bares the same last name.

Said Justin Smith of the 49ers emerging rookie linebacker: “He’s got 5.5 sacks and scored two points in the game…  The week before that, he had two huge plays. He keeps coming on, getting better and better every week. So far, so good. He’s been a good player.”

As for Aldon himself, the rookie is pleased with his progress, but is not satisfied with what he’s accomplished. The rookie linebacker played his most snaps of the season against Detroit as the 49ers utilized their nickel personnel against the Lions single-back, three receiver formations.

“We’re definitely excited about where we’re going,” said the linebacker, who uses athleticism and wingspan to get to opposing quarterbacks, “but it’s not time for us to get cocky about what’s happened. It’s just the beginning. We’re working hard to keep this thing going.”

Smith’s attitude has impressed his teammates. But the production has really stood out.

Same goes for third-round pick Chris Culliver, who defended Lions star wideout Calvin Johnson solidly on Sunday when the 49ers went to their nickel defense.

“He’s playing tough, keeps coming along, too,” Justin Smith said of Culliver.

The contributions from both Aldon Smith and Culliver have been key in the mind of the veteran defensive tackle, who has been named to back-to-back Pro Bowls with the 49ers.

“That’s what your high-round draft picks in your rookie class have to do,” Smith said. “They have to come in and help you a little bit. They’ve definitely done that.”

Culliver had three tackles and a pass breakup against the Lions.

Both rookies continue to harp on working to get better. Spending time around a hungry 49ers locker room has only fueled their quest to become the best they can be.

“Every time we’re on the field,” Aldon Smith said, “We’re just getting better. Both of us.”

The rookie linebacker admits, “It’s definitely cool being a part of something like this, something special.”

But ultimately, veterans like Justin Smith set the tone for the defense and the locker room.

A 5-1 record is a positive development, but by no means is it the end goal.

“We just have to take these game one at a time,” the veteran said. “I really don’t look at the record or if it’s 1-5 or 5-1 to be honest. We have a game in two weeks and we’ll just keep going at it that way.”

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Posted in Announcements | 29 Comments »

29 Responses to “Monday’s Locker Room Talk: Oct. 17”

  1. By Andrew Lopez on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    With the way these rookies including Kendall Hunter. and the development of other recent draft picks, this team looks like it can turn into something special.
    With coach Harbaugh at the helms. I only see good things happening. it is about time the team gets back on track.

  2. By NinerFanFromTonga on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    I love the attitude of this Justin!……….Go Niners Go!!!!

  3. By Frankie on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    Hell yeah justin thats what you do! Major props to aldon, culliver and the rest of the team! Coachs n all, keep fighting, pushing threw breaking forward to get better and continue to strive for victorious success

  4. By rookieoftheweek on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    Aldon Smith is by far one of the best defensive players picked up in the 2011 draft.

  5. By Donna Galindo on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    Justin, you did a awesome job yesterday. The announcers , almost on every play you were in they said your name and what a great player you are. Keep the rest of the guys pumped up so we can get to the playoffs. Go Niners!

  6. By seven years in S.F. on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    yeah culliver shut down their #1 reciever calvin johnson and that right there directley contributes to the defensive line and backers …it all has to flow eveyone doing their job and right the flow is like niagra falls …kudos to vic fangio for making the defense believe in themselves and even specaial teams blocking for returns is helping us tremendousley …with out those good returns against detroit it is doubtful we could have stayed in it and overcome ….team is fireing on all cylinders …Alex you need to step it up and figure out how to play better and have more drives for scores the defense cant cary you for much longer …get the stupid kid grin off your face and play like a man with some grit and integrity and dont stand there and take the sack be more aware and move up run if you have to but dont stand there like the statue of liberty and hold the ball out for everyone to grab ….come on you have 3 seconds to find a reciever and throw the ball …….then run or throw it away but dont stand there like a deer in headlights and take the sack thats bush league and not very good for the team ….step it up …we need u for trade bait next year

  7. By Grateful49 on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    There are defining moments in 49er history, The Catch which started 20yrs of great 49er football. Have been a fan since the Kezar days and seen the best and worst, after watching yesterdays game just got one thing to say..WERE BACK!!!!!! Great game Niners, Kudos to the defense..

  8. By Vortex on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    Gotta love the way a good head coach and coaching staff have helped players reach potential and still have room for improvement. I tell all my friends that Harbaugh is the second coming of Bill Walsh and each week he backs up my words. Feels good to have a team that can compete week in week out.

  9. By Sekalento on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    This is the most solid defense I’ve seen in a long time! I am really impressed by all of the hard work these rookies are putting in. We’ve had many players join in the past but, they have not stood out like these guys are standing out. Go Niners!

  10. By loyal4evr on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    seven year you need stop talking bad about alex, his doing a hell of job. why you think you could do better.

  11. By Tarcules on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

  12. By missouri 9er on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    Making Missouri proud Aldon! Now keep up the good work and keep those sacks coming baby!!!!! GO NINERS YOU GUYS ARE WORKING HARD AND WE ARE LOVING IT!!!!!!!!!!

  13. By ogre on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply



  14. By ChillyNinerWilly on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    I haven’t wrote a blog in a long while Faithful about our boys because I was so unhappy the last couple of years. I alway knew the talent was always their and I’m glad we finally have the right coach JIM H to bring that talent out of the guys. Faithful this is special the Niners are steadily improving and showing that they belong with the big boys!. I have some new nick names for the DEFENSE because I have been so impressed with there HARD WORK on and off the field. Tell what you think… Here we go…

    The Linebackers — “THE LINE BACKERS OF TERROR” because they so good

    Aldon Smith —- “THE FREAK OF NATURE”
    Justin Smith —- “TRUE GRIT”
    Dashon Goldson —- “THE ENFORCER”
    Patrick Willis — “CANTGETBYME”

    more to come.

    To the Niners and the Faithful your the BEST!

  15. By niner4life on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    congrats to the niners. another great win.winning 3 on the road is very difficult to do these days in the nfl,especially against 3 tough teams. overall 5-1, i couldn’t b happier. it would b nice though to c a little more respect thrown our way now.being on the east coast i never get to watch them. just the highlights,but it gives me something to look foward to on sunday evenings. please stop talking about the handshake and start giving us the credit that we deserve. for crying out loud it was only a handshake. if i knocked off an unbeaten team in their own house, i would b going buck nutty as well. it was a hard earned win.eep up the good work fellas.making a niner fan in west virginia very happy. looking foward to the niners-browns matchup. should b another good one.

  16. By chali82 on Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    im lovin the defense and way to keep your head in the game #11 stay confidant . P.S only a fool stay the same , we aint knw fools . way coach’em up jim ya doin ya thang.

  17. By Rick in Round Rock Tx on Oct 18, 2011 | Reply


  18. By VAninerfan on Oct 18, 2011 | Reply

    I have been a niner fan for 50 yrs and I dont think we have ever had as good a defense group as we have seen this year(and we have had some good groups).Cudos to Alex Smith for pulling it together through some tough times. The ROOKIES have definitely allowed the team to completely gel and you guys look GREAT! Soooo happy to see SMART FOOTBALL again in the niner campaign. It is another GOLD RUSH year. Thanks niners for great football.

  19. By Mountain Jack on Oct 18, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Chilly Willy, Please spare us the nickname insanity. I’ll tell you what I think. The Niners are playing championship ball and you are posting 3rd grade nicknames.

  20. By chuckiee po on Oct 18, 2011 | Reply

    Hay Chilly, I like the idea of the names. It tells the other teams were comming after you as will.

  21. By JB on Oct 18, 2011 | Reply

    We are the East Coast Killas

  22. By SF49er4Life on Oct 18, 2011 | Reply

    Good job Superbowl bound 49ers, lets win the rest

  23. By Louie on Oct 18, 2011 | Reply

    Go niners !!!!

  24. By zilla414 on Oct 19, 2011 | Reply

    @ Rick in Round Rock- NOBOBY!!!!!!!

    Go Niners

  25. By zilla414 on Oct 19, 2011 | Reply

    @ Rick in Round Rock- NOBOBY!!!!!!!

  26. By Oldninerfan on Oct 19, 2011 | Reply

    Niners are doing well. We will win our division this year. But 9 and 7 will win our division. When we lose a game or 2, let’s not forget our objective is to win our division. Then, don’t lose in the playoffs.

    Go Niners

  27. By Hermie on Oct 19, 2011 | Reply

    Can’t say enough about the defense. I knew they were going to keep us in a lot of games, but they are playing above where I thought they would be, especially the DB’s after the first 3 games. They have been playing great and I attribute that to a great coaching staff. Drafting the likes of Willis, Bowman, and Aldon, it is hard to go wrong. Great drafting by Nolan/Singletary, et al…and a great job this year!!


  28. By william hartman on Oct 21, 2011 | Reply

    i wasnt much of on aldon smith fan cause from texas go longhorns but i love him now.

  29. By anthony on Oct 26, 2011 | Reply

    The announcers , almost on every play you were in they said your name and what a great player you are. Keep the rest of the guys pumped up so we can get to the playoffs. Go Niners!

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