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Who is the Face of the San Francisco 49ers Defense?

What a great problem to have for the San Francisco 49ers, who is the “Face of the Defense? With stars at every position group that any team would love to have, the Niners are stacked with talent all over on defense. But who is the face of that vaunted “D”? I believe there are three solid choices and they all are in the front seven.

Justin Smith – “The Cowboy” as 49er fans affectionately call him, is the key to the success of the Niners defense. After he tore his Triceps in the win over the New England Patriots, the Niners defense suddenly looked mortal. They gave up 28 unanswered points against the Pats before the Niners offense saved the day, they allowed Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco to put up huge numbers even when Smith came back when he wasn’t even close to being 100%. He stops the run, bullrushes opposing linemen and although he doesn’t put up the huge numbers, he allows players like Aldon Smith to run free and put up huge stats.

Patrick Willis – He is the logical man to be the “Face of the Niners Defense”. He has now officially taken the reigns as the next great middle linebacker after Ray Lewis has *finally* retired. Willis doesn’t get the same attention Colin Kaepernick does, but he is in commercials whenever you flip on the television and he makes plays human being shouldn’t be able to do. He’ll go from stopping Adrian Peterson in the backfield to covering Jimmy Graham up the seam. But, with the emergence of Navorro Bowman and Willis playing more and more coverage, his stats don’t seem as impressive as they once were…or we just expect such greatness from him.

Aldon Smith – He enters his third-year in the NFL and his second as a starter for the Niners defense. In those two years he has recorded a 33.5 sacks and is now one of the premier defensive players in the NFL. Before Justin Smith’s injury, Aldon looked like he was on pace to break Michael Strahan‘s sack record — especially after the 5.5 sack breakout performance against the Chicago Bears — but a torn labrum and Justin’s injury slowed him down. Smith said over the weekend his goal is to get 30 (!) sacks this year, if he does that he’s undeniably the face of the 49ers defense and one of the greatest pass-rushers we’ll ever see.

Some franchises don’t have one face of the franchise, while the 49ers have several. Who do you think is the “Face of the 49ers Defense”?

The 49ers defense will have a difficult task on their hands in Week 1 when Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay visits Candlestick Park. The average ticket price is $320, but you can grab tickets for as low as $185, according to If you’re looking to get close to the action, lower level seats start at $226 per ticket.

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Tags: Aldon Smith Justin Smith NFC NFL Patrick Willis San Francisco 49ers

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