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  1. #1
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    Fisher: 'Grab Game' Helping Aldon Smith's Sack Total

    Fisher: 'Grab game' helping Aldon Smith's sack total

    23 hours ago • By Jim Thomas jthomas@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8197

    San Francisco outside linebacker Aldon Smith was named NFC defensive player of the month for November, and did it in just three games because the ***** had a bye the first weekend of a month.

    Even so, Smith had nine sacks in those three contests and got his start with two sacks and several other noteworthy plays when the Rams and ***** met Nov. 11 in Candlestick Park.

    In the first quarter of that game, Smith made a shoestring tackle to save a touchdown on a 32-yard scamper by Daryl Richardson. The effort went for naught when the Rams scored a TD three plays later.

    In the third quarter, he beat an attempted block by tight end Matthew Mulligan, dropping Steven Jackson for a 4-yard loss on second and goal from the San Francisco 5. The Rams settled for a field goal and a 17-7 lead in a game that ended in a 24-24 overtime tie.

    So how do the Rams derail Smith — or at least slow him down — Sunday in the Edward Jones Dome?

    “Well, hopefully he doesn’t dress,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer joked. “He’s hot. I think him and (Justin) Smith working in tandem together on the same side, they do a great job. ... So, you try to know where he is. You have a plan for him, but again, great players are going to try to find a way to show up. If we can neutralize it a little bit, that’d be a good thing.”

    Although a decade separated their time playing at the University of Missouri, Aldon Smith and defensive tackle Justin Smith work like longtime teammates on lots of passing downs on the right side of the San Francisco line.

    As coach Jeff Fisher sees it, some of their work is legal. And some of it is, well, not legal. Fisher calls it the “grab game,” where Justin Smith not only occupies his blocker (usually, the left tackle), but grabs the left guard, allowing Aldon Smith to loop around to the inside toward the quarterback.

    Aldon Smith’s two sacks of Sam Bradford three weeks ago in San Francisco came on such a maneuver. On the first, it’s pretty obvious on game film that Justin Smith is grabbing Rams left guard Shelley Smith illegally, giving Aldon Smith a rush lane.

    On the second sack, it’s hard to tell if Justin Smith is doing anything illegally, although he does occupy left tackle Rodger Saffold while getting into Shelley Smith as well.

    “There’s a number of stunts that they use, but the one that’s most effective is the ‘grab game,’ ” Fisher told San Francisco reporters on a conference call Wednesday. “It’s been in the game forever.”

    So is Fisher implying that there’s some holding going on by Justin Smith on such plays?

    “I’m not implying,” Fisher replied on the call. “I’m just stating fact. And I’m not complaining. Everybody does it, and Justin does a great job of it.

    “As long as you see him moving towards the quarterback, then it won’t get called and it’s a legal act. If you grab and pull backwards — in a pull-and-shot — then it’s not necessarily something that’s legal. But in addition to that, it’s not something that’s gonna get called.”

    On Thursday, Fisher was asked by the Post-Dispatch if this is something he’ll bring up Sunday morning during his normal pregame meeting with the officiating crew.

    “I don’t discuss what I discuss with officials before the game,” Fisher replied. “But this particular pass-rush ‘game’ is common. He happens to do it very well. And sometimes if there’s a foul in question in this type of ‘game,’ it’s not gonna be seen because the umpire’s on the other side of the ball (in the offensive backfield). Most of the time you don’t see it. He’s the only one that’ll call it.”

    That maneuver will be Robert Turner’s problem Sunday for the Rams. With Scott Wells returning to center, Turner has replaced Shelley Smith at left guard.

    As for Aldon Smith, he is quickly making a name for himself in the NFL as one of the league’s top pass-rushers. As a rookie last season, he registered 14 sacks, just one-half sack behind the NFL’s rookie mark, set by Jevon Kearse in 1999 with the Tennessee Titans.

    This season, Smith has been on a tear lately, including a 5½-sack outing against Chicago in a Nov. 19 Monday night contest. The Kansas City native has 16½ sacks this season and is closing in on a couple of significant milestones:

    • He’s one sack away from tying Fred Dean’s ***** franchise record for sacks in a season (17½), set in 1983.

    • With 30½ career sacks, he’s one-half sack away from tying Reggie White’s NFL record for most sacks in a player’s first two NFL seasons (31).

    Sacks did not become an official NFL stat until 1982. With that caveat, Smith has become the fastest player to reach 30 career sacks in NFL history, doing so in his 27th game.

    The Rams had Smith in for a pre-draft visit before the 2011 draft, eventually selecting Robert Quinn at No. 14 overall. In what was viewed as a surprise at the time, given Smith’s injury problems in 2010 at Mizzou, San Francisco picked him at No. 7 overall.

    Many observers thought that was too high for Smith. The ***** obviously knew what they were doing.


  2. #2
    Flippin' Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Fisher: 'Grab Game' Helping Aldon Smith's Sack Total

    Same ole cheatin' Whiners.

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    rNemesis's Avatar
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    Re: Fisher: 'Grab Game' Helping Aldon Smith's Sack Total

    I still don't understand it; usually when we drafted players that came from a 3-4 defense in college, they struggled to produce. Yet still, the Whiners ( a 3-4 defense) pick him up as a player who dominated in a 4-3 and he has rewarded them immensely. Go figure...

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    Re: Fisher: 'Grab Game' Helping Aldon Smith's Sack Total

    Quote Originally Posted by rNemesis View Post
    I still don't understand it; usually when we drafted players that came from a 3-4 defense in college, they struggled to produce. Yet still, the Whiners ( a 3-4 defense) pick him up as a player who dominated in a 4-3 and he has rewarded them immensely. Go figure...
    Just goes to show you if a man's got talent, a man's got talent... no matter what system.

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    gap's Avatar
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    Re: Fisher: 'Grab Game' Helping Aldon Smith's Sack Total

    Quote Originally Posted by rNemesis View Post
    I still don't understand it; usually when we drafted players that came from a 3-4 defense in college, they struggled to produce. Yet still, the Whiners ( a 3-4 defense) pick him up as a player who dominated in a 4-3 and he has rewarded them immensely. Go figure...
    Quote Originally Posted by THOLTFAN81 View Post
    Just goes to show you if a man's got talent, a man's got talent... no matter what system.

    Does talent include the officials "not seeing" how you get an open shot at the QB or RB in the bacfield? Having seen the penalties called frequently, the RAMS don't "get away" with that "technique".

    Not saying he isn't talented, but he would not have that much success, with that style of play, on most of the teams in the league.

    I certainly hope this doesn't backfire, and see the RAMS get flagged for this multiple times, while the 9ers never get flagged for it.


    gap

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