49ers key matchup No. 3: Justin Smith vs. Kevin Boothe

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49ers key matchup No. 3: Justin Smith vs. Kevin Boothe

This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Giants matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (FOX-TV), at Candlestick Park.49ers RDT Justin Smith vs. Giants LG Kevin BootheTale of the tape
Smith (94): 6-foot-4, 285 pounds, 12th season, Missouri
Boothe (77): 6-foot-5, 320 pounds, seventh season, CornellIt'll take more than one player along the New York Giants' offensive line to handle All-Pro defensive lineman Justin Smith. And that's exactly the way Smith wants it.Left guard Kevin Boothe will find himself in front of Smith most of the time. Boothe will likely receive plenty of help along the way from left tackle Will Beatty and center David Baas.And the more Giants linemen it takes to keep Smith in check, the better for the 49ers' defense.Through five games, Smith does not have a sack, but he leads the 49ers with 27 quarterback pressures. Smith's value to the 49ers' defense is that he occupies multiple blockers.And Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride questioned Thursday whether Smith does so within the rules of the game.
"Smith is a beast on the inside," Gilbride told the New York media. "He's strong. He does as good a job of grabbing ahold of offensive linenen and allowing those twists to take place. He never gets called for it, so he gets away with murder."Right outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who benefits the most from Justin Smith's presence, leads the 49ers with 4.5 sacks. And although Justin Smith's statistics are not impressive, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is not the least bit disappointed."There's nothing wrong with him," Fangio said. "He's still applying good pressure. Teams have thrown the ball quickly on us at times. I haven't felt during any of the games like, 'Damn, where's our pass rush?' And until I feel that then we don't have a problem."The 49ers own the No. 2 pass defense in the league, despite opening the season against the prolific passing attacks of Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Detroit's Matthew Stafford.Justin Smith will be a focus of the Giants, especially after the teams met twice last season. Smith batted down a fourth-down pass in the closing seconds to secure a regular-season victory. And Smith was dominant in the 49ers' NFC championship game loss against Boothe and the Giants. He recorded seven tackles with one sack and delivered four hits on quarterback Eli Manning.Boothe grades out 25th in the NFL among left guards in Pro Football Focus' positional rankings that takes into account pass blocking, run blocking and penalties.

49ers visit with free-agent defensive end

49ers visit with free-agent defensive end

PHOENIX – The 49ers had a recent visit with Tampa Bay free-agent defensive end Jacquies Smith, general manager John Lynch confirmed on Sunday.

Smith, 27, sustained a torn right ACL in the Buccaneers’ season opener in September while running down the field on punt coverage against the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers gave Smith a physical during his visit to Santa Clara. The club has yet to make a contract offer, Lynch said.

"We wanted to get him checked out medically, and we’ll see," Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings.

Smith (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) recorded 6.5 sacks in 2014 and seven sacks in 2015 for the Buccaneers.

After going undrafted in 2012 out of Missouri, Smith signed with Miami. He spent time with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League before landing on the New York Jets’ practice squad. Smith worked his way into the Buccaneers’ defensive-line rotation in ’14 after being claimed off waivers from the Buffalo Bills.

The Buccaneers gave Smith the low tender of $1.797 million as a restricted free agent. Any team can sign Smith to an offer sheet. Tampa Bay would have the right of first refusal but would get no compensation if the team chooses not to match the contract.

With 71 players under contract, the 49ers have $74.5 million in cap space, according to the NFL Players Association.

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88. 

Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.

A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.

Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014. 

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