Actually it would be more accurate to say that the 49ers think he’s been more of a Nancy linebacker than a Mike or a Ted. It’s clear that the 49ers can’t stand the weak performance he’s given them over the last 2 years. Sometimes you have to be clear and say “it’s not me it’s you”. Maybe they could have claimed he was cheating on them by secretly missing tackles, but then he could just say it was revenge for romancing with Patrick Willis.
Either way, it’s official, the 49ers are definitely moving in a new direction on defense. It’s arguable that this direction is lateral or maybe even a back-peddle or two, but it’s clear that they want changes. If you were one of the 13,423 people who watched any of the last 4 games of the 2007 season, you saw Derek Smith dying a slow death on the 49ers sidelines. You knew that it was only a matter of time before he was kicked to the curb with the team flinging his meager belongings out the door behind him.
Some people even think that this will be good because it might elevate Tully Banta-Cain’s importance to the defense. If you watched TBC play at all this year you’ve got one on me, since I can’t remember him making a single play all season. Maybe he was secretly subletting his playing time to Patrick Willis so he could try to break the NFL tackles record. Honestly it’s much more telling that the 49ers went to a nickle defense for the end of last season, and the other LB on the field next to Willis was Jeff Ulbrich (who must give great head or have blackmail photos of Mike Nolan doing the same to keep his roster spot). If Derek Smith or TBC weren’t able to get on the field with Ulbrich essentially starting, then there’s real problems with their skills. Here’s hoping that the 49ers will put in the time to find another top notch LB (hopefully with their 2nd round pick or in free agency). I’ve tried to find a Derek Smith highlight real clip, but this is the best I could come up with. It’s more indicative of Derek Smith than I thought before I watched it.
Mock Draft Update:
This will be my first mock draft so it must be taken as more valuable than John Clayton’s agent (for swinging him TV appearances with that horrible comb over) or Mel Kiper Jr’s stylist (His hair is actually holding it’s democratic primary next week. Remember to vote for Bill Walsh in ’08!) . As it will hold such importance, remember that at least 10 minutes of serious thought will go into it, and as such it will be a while before it’s posted.
Since I haven’t been able to find a Derek Smith hit clip on youtube, I thought that I should at least give you a Patrick Willis highlight reel, so someone could tell D. Smith what tackling look like.