It’s still a relatively new idea, but the San Francisco 49ers possess one of the NFL’s best pass rushers. In almost no time at all, Aldon Smith has become one of the league’s most feared players because of his efficiency on game day.
It’s hard to believe that before 2012, his first year as a starter, Smith only had 5 years of organized football under his belt.
But nevertheless, he appears to be a natural that is yet to even reach his ceiling. Whether or not Smith can be this productive year to year will distinguish if he’s the next Lawrence Taylor or the next Shawne Merriman.
But right now, it’s looking good for young No. 99.
@aldonsmithjets (31.5 sacks) just broke HOF DE Reggie White’s record (31.0) for the most sacks by a player in their first two seasons— Bob Lange (@49ersPR) December 2, 2012
The second-year man out of Mizzou has been on a record-breaking pace this year. He set the new mark on Monday Night Football with 5.5 sacks and bested Reggie White’s record of quickest ever to 30 career sacks (27 games).
Now, with a league-leading 17.5 sacks, Smith has another record in his sights: Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record (22.5). Smith needs 5 sacks in the next four games in order to tie it, and 5.5 in order to break it.
Smith has been averaging 1.5 sacks per game. If Smith stays on that pace, he’ll achieve 6 sacks and set a new single-season record of sacks in a game with 23.5. Mind you, this is just in theory, but statistically, he is on pace to break it.
On Wednesday, the media had Aldon’s partner in crime, Justin Smith, for a one-on-one talk in the locker room. A good percentage of the discussion wound up being about Aldon, but Justin did not hesitate to go into detail about what makes his other half so successful.
On Aldon Smith being 5.0 sacks away from the single-season record:
I think first and foremost, everybody’s worried about getting a win. But you know, he’s chasing history and he’s going to keep doing what he does to make the plays and help the team win and if along the way he gets the record, so be it. We’re all pulling for him, hope he gets it and we’re pretty confident he will.
What his personality is like and how that helps him as a player:
He’s a hard worker. He studies in the room; knowing the scheme, knowing when to take your opportunities, knowing when you’re going to get that one-on-one block, when they’re going to chip you and knowing how to defeat all those separate blocks. He doesn’t hurt us in the run either. I think a lot times guys chasing all these sacks will hurt you in the run. He hasn’t hurt us in the run; he’s helped us in the run. He’s an all-around great player. That’s what you have to be to be a good defense.
On his growth from his rookie year:
The one thing about great football players is they come in and they’re usually pretty good from the get-go. And you know, Aldon got better last year, progressed and then he just blew up. And that’s a tribute to him being a great football player. He’s just continued to get better; and non-verbal communication, and all those things that you can do to become even better, and pre-snap reads and all those things – he’s just done everything to take his game to another level and it just keeps going up.
On taking pride in Aldon Smith’s on-the-field success:
Aldon does a great job, no matter what we’re doing; the stunts, one-on-one pass rush – he’s doing the work and he’s getting it done himself. We take pride as a defense, that’s the thing. You know, records, this and that, that’s great and he feels the same way. It’s all about winning these games, getting to the playoffs and hopefully winning a Super Bowl. And hopefully that record falls on the way there.
And as for this weekend's game, Aldon Smith could give himself a pretty good head start for this final four-game stretch.
Jake Long on IR just in time for Miami to head to SF? Aldon Smith, this is your day. #NinersD/STfantasyownershappy— trey wingo (@wingoz) December 5, 2012