Justin Smith’s run of under-the-radar dominance is slowly starting to fade.
With NFL writers taking the time to acknowledge the efforts of San Francisco’s All-Pro defensive tackle, it’s clear that Smith’s name will continued to be mentioned in greater detail throughout the 2012 season.
In the latest offering of praise, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah listed Smith atop his interior defensive linemen rankings because of his ability to play the run and the pass.
“Against the run, he is too physically strong to move off the line of scrimmage and quick enough to shoot gaps and wreak havoc in the backfield,” Jeremiah, a former NFL scout, wrote.
“As a pass rusher, he might have the best bull rush of any defensive lineman in the league. He constantly pushes the pocket and forces the QB off his spot. He was always a solid player in Cincinnati, but he has taken his game to new heights in San Francisco. In four years with the 49ers, he’s compiled 29 sacks and made each of the last three Pro Bowls.”
In addition to NFL writers acknowledging Smith’s presence on the field, teammates have shed light on Smith’s behavior off of it. In fact, several 49ers have called Smith the funniest player in the locker room.
This is what Michael Crabtree had to say in a 49ers.com live chat when asked to name his funniest teammate.
“Justin Smith,” Crabtree said. “You know when you go to a comedy show and they’re telling the truth? He’s like that. It’s better when the truth is funnier than jokes.”
Fullback Bruce Miller had a similar response in his chat earlier this offseason.
“The funniest person on the team by far is Justin Smith,” Miller, the second-year player said. “He might be one of the funniest persons I’ve ever met. He’s so clever.”
It’s doubtful opposing offensive linemen find Smith to be so humorous, they’re too busy finding ways to slow down his never-ending motor.
More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.
Cam Inman of The San Jose Mercury News shares the comments made from 49ers secondary coach Ed Donatell on the defense facing all five of last season’s top-ranked passers. “We have our work cut out for us,” Donatell said. “We definitely have to improve to match what’s coming at us this year, and we know that.”
Eric Branch of The San Francisco Chronicle spoke with linebacker Larry Grant who’s pleased to be back with the 49ers, despite not being offered a contract this summer by other teams as a restricted free agent.
Tight end Delanie Walker joined Comcast SportsNet’s Chronicle Live to discuss the latest happenings with the 49ers offense. Walker on quarterback Alex Smith, “We know he can lead us to the promise land.”
Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News lists 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers as the league’s sixth-best cornerback. Iyer: “He was physical and equally adept at working over receivers outside and inside. The result was his most durable season, a career-high six interceptions and a knack for making big plays when San Francisco needed them most.”
NFL.com offers a photo gallery of NFL players throwing out the first pitch at various Major League Baseball games. Joe Montana and Jerry Rice are included in the gallery.
NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison examines the best streaks in NFL history and lists Rice’s 11-straight, 1,000-yard seasons and 274 games with a catch as his No. 5 streak. Harrison: “Which streak do you like better? We couldn’t decide either. Jerry Rice might be the greatest NFL player to lace ‘em up, and was even voted as such on NFL Network’s “Top 100″ players two years ago. His run of 11 consecutive 1,000-yard years reflected his reliability (staying in the lineup) as well as his productivity. The 274 straight games with a catch is simply phenomenal.”
Lastly, 49ers.com’s OTA coverage continued with a video interview with tight end Vernon Davis, who commented on his inclusion on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2012 list, and the hard-working efforts of his new teammates. Safety C.J. Spillman also discussed his goals for 2012.
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Tags: Bruce Miller, C.J. Spillman, Delanie Walker, Ed Donatell, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Justin Smith, Larry Grant, Michael Crabtree
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