San Francisco 49ers defensive end Justin Smith is one of the best players in the NFL today, as he regularly dominates offensive linemen in run defense and frees things up for fellow pass rushers such as Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith. He is also a good pass rusher in his own right, and New England Patriots star left guard praises Justin Smith after facing the star DE two weeks ago.
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Speaking on M&M, Mankins said when asked about the best player he has faced this season, “Probably this year so far [49ers defensive end] Justin Smith. He does it all. he’s an unselfish player for his team, too. He does a lot of things where no one else sees them. That’s why his team’s good around him. The players around him have very good stats because he’s holding everyone. Like, a lot of those pressures and sacks that Aldon Smith gets are from Justin Smith holding the offensive linemen to where they can’t get off a block. Guys like that, they do all the dirty things that no one else sees and helps his team.”
Mankins is right on, because Smith is one of the best players in the league and gets underrated due to less glamorous stats than the guys around him. Aldon Smith has incredibly high sack numbers, but, as Mankins hints at, many of them come from the hard work that Smith does to draw double teams and free things up for the young edge rusher. Smith is slowly becoming more of a household name, but he deserves to be praised like one of the best defensive players in the entire league.
When asked about how the team looks heading into the playoffs Logan Mankins said, “Well, if you go off of Sunday, not that good. But if you go off the total of the season, I think we’ve got a good shot. We’ve just got to get everyone playing good together. When we’re playing the way we want to play, doing the things we want to do, we’re pretty good.”
Again, couldn’t agree more. The Patriots looked very poor yesterday, but they were also missing four key players in Alfonzo Dennard, Aqib Talib, Brandon Spikes, and Rob Gronkowski who will be playing in the playoffs. As the Patriots showed in their blowout victory over the Houston Texans, this team is capable of incredible things when it comes down to it. I’m not worried, but that performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars did stir some doubt in my mind. I would be lying if I didn’t consent that.
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