SANTA CLARA — Here’s what Vic Fangio said about Justin Smith in particular and the 49ers pass rush in general at the Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.
How has DT Justin Smith been playing this year? And how do you expect the Giants to counter him?
“He’s been playing the same that he always has at a very, very high level, Pro Bowl level. He’s one of the top interior defensive linemen in the league. And I think they’ll just run their offense. They occasionally will change a protection or two to account for him. Maybe make sure the center’s going his way a little bit more than usual. But again, I think they view us the same, as we’ve got balance up there. So, they can’t try and stop one guy totally.”
This is probably low-hanging fruit, but Justin Smith hasn’t had a sack. People who look at that and say, ‘what’s wrong with him?’ What would you say?
“There’s nothing wrong. There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s still applying good pressure. Teams have thrown the ball quickly on us at times. I haven’t felt during any of the games like, ‘damn, where’s our pass rush?’ And until I feel that then we don’t have a problem. Sacks are good. It’s a number that fans and you guys can sink your teeth into, but it’s not the only thing. Pressure is critical, causing incompletions, altering throws. On the interception that [CB Chris] Culliver got last week against Buffalo, that was a direct result of a really good rush by [LB] Ahmad Brooks. He doesn’t get credited for a sack for that. I like the interception better than the sack. So, the sack is a stat that people like to talk about. But, that’s not the only indicator of whether you’re rushing the passer good or not.”