Originally posted by candlestick49er:
Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking Aldon at all. In fact its the opposite. I'm just stating that his presence can't be ignored and teams will be forced to double team him, which will make things easier for his teammates. Here's some examples of what I mean:
1. Julius Peppers was Carolina's best pass rusher during his time there. He recorded 12 sacks in 12 games as a rookie in 2002. The following season (2003), he recorded 7 sacks in 16 games. Although his sack totals weren't as high as the previous year, he was still a dominant force. His impact was seen through the production of his teammates. That season, Mike Rucker led the Panthers in sacks with 12 (a career high for him). Rucker wasn't the best pass rusher on the team, but his job was made easier because Peppers drew most of the attention from offenses.
2. Terrell Suggs in 2004 led the Ravens in sacks with 10.5 in 16 games. The next two seasons, he finished behind Adalius Thomas in sacks. Despite finishing behind him, Suggs was obviously a better pass rusher than Thomas (who we later found out wasn't as good as originally thought). Suggs wasn't Baltimore's sack leader in those seasons but he was still a threat that offenses had to account for. Like the Peppers example above, Suggs' impact was seen through the production of his teammates. He helped his defense not by recording sacks, but by drawing attention and helping Thomas get to the QB easier.
Aldon obviously has the ability to lead the team in sacks again next year, I'm not disputing that. In fact, I won't be surprised if he becomes the league's sack leader. I'm just saying that his impact will be deeper than sack totals. By drawing more attention, its possible that he could help somebody else (Ahmad Brooks?) become the team's sack leader.
I agree with you for the most part however Aldon Smith showed more as pass rusher than either of those two did as rookies, and by the time the playoffs rolled around last year teams had plenty of tape on Aldon Smith and he was still effective. As far as double teams go opponents will still have to focus on stopping Justin Smith first and foremost if they want to beat the 49ers