49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

June 13, 2010
Staley gives his pass-rush perspective

When it comes to the 49ers' pass rushers, no one has a better perspective than the players who must block them - day in and day out - in practice. With that in mind, I asked left tackle Joe Staley the other day about Ahmad Brooks, who has been the primary beneficiary of Manny Lawson's absence this spring. Here's what Staley had to say about Brooks:

"He's taken full advantage of all the reps he's getting. The thing I've noticed with Ahmad is how much more intelligent a pass rusher he's becoming. I think before, he had a (pass-rush) move in his mind that he was going to do no matter what the circumstance was. Now, he's kind of analyzing it a little more. And you know, he's got all the physical talent in the world."

Brooks generally is regarded as the most physically gifted pass rusher on the team. However, when I asked Staley his opinion, he said that Parys Haralson gave him the most problems. Staley said that Haralson has a wide array of moves and knows how to keep an offensive lineman off balance. Haralson's lack of height - it was a red flag when he was drafted - also can be an advantage. "It's kind of hard when you're a 6-5 guy and you have to punch down on a guy who's 5-1," Staley said. (For the record, Haralson is 6-0).

On some teams - the Cowboys, for example -- it's easy to predict a sack leader. The 49ers are a bit different. Last year, six different players finished with between four and six and half sacks. If I had to predict a winner in the 2010 sack derby, I'd put my money on Haralson because he's a starter, because he's relentless and because he'll be healthy. But I wouldn't feel confident doing do. Predictions?

2009 sack numbers
Manny Lawson, 6.5
Ahmad Brooks, 6.0
Justin Smith, 6.0
Parys Haralson, 5.0
Patrick Willis, 4.0
Takeo Spikes, 4.0
Ray McDonald, 3.0
Dashon Goldson, 2.0
Aubrayo Franklin, 2.0
Demetric Evans, 1.5
Michael Lewis, 1.0
Mark Roman, 1.0
Dre Bly, 1.0
Isaac Sopoaga, 1.0

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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