By Mike Sando
Do not count the San Francisco 49ers' Troy Smith among those campaigning for increased protection from officials for offensive players.
"Pretty soon it seems like we're going to be playing flag football," Smith said Monday, sounding more like a linebacker than a quarterback. "They are not allowing the defensive players to play the game the way that we know it to be played. We as NFL players and as football players know you are going to have to take a tough hit sometimes or whatever the case may be."
Smith, listed at 6 feet and 217 pounds, appears sturdier than the typical quarterback. He took five sacks Sunday and held up fine. His next opponent, Tampa Bay, has zero sacks in five of its games this season, with five of its eight sacks coming in two games against Carolina.
The 49ers will be playing without injured starting left tackle Joe Staley, however.