49ers rookie 1st round pick Aldon Smith saw significant time vs the Philadelphia Eagles week 4 mostly because the Eagles weren’t doing anything but passing the ball. The 49ers have brought the rookie who’s making the move from Defensive End to Outside Linebacker in the NFL along slowly this season. Smith has mostly entered the game on 3rd downs and obvious passing plays and lined up at DE rushing the passer, Smith has only lined up at OLB on a few plays this season.
Smith was all over the field Sunday and help apply significant pressure on Eagles QB Michael Vick. Unfortunately for the 49ers a lot of the time when you pressure Vick he simply takes off running and becomes Barry Sanders. Smith was apart of that pressure and made as many plays in the backfield as any 49er and recorded his first 1.5 sacks against his favorite QB growing up.
See what happens when you give the kid some real playing time? All of training camp the 49ers coaches, veterans and media alike were gushing about Smith’s ultra long arms, his athleticism etc. But the plan to bring him along slowly especially given the position switch seemed to make sense. After all the 49ers front 7 is extremely strong without Smith as an everydown player.
It’s time for the 49ers Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio to forget about all that and get this budding star on the field. Now and here’s why….
The real reason why Aldon Smith isn’t on the field already as an every down player isn’t because of Parys Haralson being stronger in the running game and I don’t care how big a game Haralson had week 1, Smith is far superior. The fear is he won’t hold up in coverage when situations dictate he should cover a Tight End. While there could be something to Haralson being a little better in the run game now I don’t buy it being a huge difference. Smith looked good Sunday in the rare instances the Eagles did call a run play.
The 49ers made Aldon Smith the #7 overall pick in the draft because of 1 thing and 1 thing only. They believed he was the best pass rusher available and that he was going to be so good at it he was worth the 7th pick. The 49ers have been downright awful rushing the passer over the last 7 or 8 years, why are we sitting our best pass rusher again?
This is not the first time the 49ers had a great pass rusher that couldn’t cover (not saying Smith can’t or won’t be able to cover adequately but that’s his current weakness) his name was Charles Haley. You want to know what his role was? Play DE/OLB and rush the passer, they called it the “elephant position”. I’m no Bill Walsh or anything but I’m pretty sure the 49ers are going to rush at least 3 or 4 no matter what every single play on defense.
Wait I have a great idea, just hit me….wait for it…..make Aldon Smith one of those guys on every down! Are you listening Vic Fangio?
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