SAN FRANCISCO — Here’s an interaction between Aldon Smith and my dad that took place yesterday in the locker room after the Niners beat the Browns.
Q: Aldon, what’s it like when you get a sack? I mean, you’re really good at it, but I’ve never done it.
ALDON SMITH: What do you mean?
Q: Like, when the play starts. What are you thinking, and then what do you see as you’re going in to get the quarterback?
ALDON SMITH: If you recognize that it’s a pass, once you see the quarterback you make a move to get to him. Once you hit him it’s just like you achieved what you set out to do.
Q: And when you hit him are you trying to bring him down, or do you blast him?
ALDON SMITH: Knock him out. Just hit him. Our objective is to make the tackle, whatever way it is, however you’re coming, whatever speed you’re coming at him, the angle you’re coming at. The thing is you want to take him down and make sure you get him stopped.
Q: Is that the best feeling for you for you as a football player? To get a sack?
ALDON SMITH: If I could score a touchdown that would be good (laughs). No, a sack is good. That’s the point. That’s my job. So, yeah.
Jim Harbaugh put pretty much the same feeling into many more words this afternoon.
HARBAUGH: I think I had that from an early early age, just how important and fun games were and how important the preparation was and just the fun of practice. Practice was being outside. That was where the medicine was – didn’t have to think about anything else that was going on in my life except scoring a touchdown. That’s a wonderful feeling. You’ve got a real focus and clarity on what’s important now. I’ve had that from an early age.
“What’s important now” is the key phrase there. To Harbaugh, the joy of football comes from being able to shut out everything except achieving football goals.
So, he’s abbreviated the phrase and put it on a sign and hung on it the defensive meeting room wall and now it’s a San Francisco 49er mantra – W.I.N.
Do you hear an echo of “Just win baby” in Harbaugh’s abbreviated style? Just asking.