49ers Blog and Q&A

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

November 28, 2012
Fisher says Justin Smith does a great job in the 'grab game'

JustinSmithRams.jpg

Jim Harbaugh probably won't be firing off another press release after this one ... we think.

For the second time this season, an opposing coach has noted that 49ers defensive end Justin Smith tends to get a little grabby when it comes to running stunts with NFL sack leader Aldon Smith.

"The one that's most effective is the grab game, it's been in the game forever," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said when asked about the stunts the two players run. "And Justin does a great job of it, a really good job of it."

Earlier this year, Giants defensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said Justin Smith "gets away with murder" when it comes to holding offensive linemen. That prompted Harbaugh to type up and send off a press release accusing Gilbride and the Giants of trying to influence the officials.

"Kevin Gilbride's outrageous, irrational statement regarding Justin Smith's play is, first, an absurd analogy," Harbaugh said. "Second, it is an incendiary comment targeting one of the truly exemplary players in this league. It's obvious that the Giants coaching staff's sole purpose is to use their high visibility to both criticize and influence officiating."

Asked today if he was implying that Justin Smith is holding on the stunts, Fisher noted he wasn't crying foul.

"I'm not implying, I'm just stating facts," he said. "And I'm not complaining. Everybody does it, and Justin does a great job of it. As long as his feet are moving toward the quarterback, it won't get called. It's a legal act. Now if he grabs and pulls backward - a pull and shoot -- it's not necessarily legal but it's not something that's going to be called."

Fisher had a good line during the conference call. He called the start of Sunday's game in St. Louis "the sixth quarter" after the teams tied on Nov. 11. ... Like every other coach the 49ers have faced in recent weeks, he said the Rams were preparing for both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick this week.

- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW 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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