It looks like the 49ers will get even better in a couple of weeks. The San Francisco 49ers have activated Aldon Smith from the non-football injury list and expect the Pro Bowl linebacker to see limited snaps against the Carolina Panthers a week from Sunday.
Smith was arrested on September 20 for suspicion of driving under the influence and was later admitted into a rehab facility for alcohol abuse which has caused him to miss the last five games.
The 49ers obviously believe that Smith has made significant progress in this personal matter since they had previously expressed that his health and well-being was top priority.
Corey Lemonier has done an outstanding job filling in for Smith and all five games that the All-Pro has missed has resulted in Niner victories, but what does that really say? The 49ers had some quality wins in that span specially against the Rams and Titans, both on the road, but the fact remains that the combined record of the last five opponents was 12-26.
It’s also very telling that even though Smith has missed the last five games, he still leads the team in sacks with 4.5. In the five games without Smith, the team has tallied 10 sacks in total (five against St. Louis) while in the previous three with Smith in the lineup, San Francisco got to the quarterback seven times. With quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Drew Brees and RG3 still left on the 49ers’ schedule, Smith will be desperately needed.
Over the last three years, Smith’s 38 sacks leads the NFL and his command of a double team on every down opens things up for Ahmad Brooks, Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis to make tackles in the open field.
With guys like Smith and Eric Wright (who should begin to practice with the team this upcoming week) the 49ers are proven to be a franchise that likes to give second chances. Make no mistakes about it that when these guys meet their potential, they are definitely play makers and have the ability to make an impact on the field so the organization so the 49ers have a lot to gain if these individuals can just concentrate on playing the game of football.
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