Defensive rivalry brewing between left and right sides

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Defensive rivalry brewing between left and right sides

SANTA CLARA -- Remember that scene from "Remember the Titans" where Bertier and Big Ju shove each other debating whether it's called the "left side" or the "strong side?"

Ahmad Brooks and Ray McDonald do, and they've adopted it as the mainstay of their competitive defensive vernacular. Brooks and McDonald comprise the 49ers' defensive left side, and they are engaging right-siders Justin and Aldon Smith.

Is there a left side-right side rivalry going on in Santa Clara?

"Not necessarily," Brooks said. "But then again...yeah."

"We're really just competing as sides," Aldon Smith confirmed. "We try to see if me and Justin can make more plays than Ahmad and Ray can make."

It started last year with McDonald and Brooks' impromptu re-enactment of Bertier and Big Ju, and the two have run with it, using it to egg on their right side-counterparts.

How the right side responds, however, is up for debate.

"We just let the play do the talking," Aldon said.

"They just talk crap," Brooks said.

We'll check in throughout the season to see which side has the upper hand, but the underlying theme of making plays has clearly been internalized by the 49ers' front seven.

"It's not a rivalry, it's like a friendly competition," Aldon said. "We want to see who can get more than the other. And just get 'em period."

Head coach Jim Harbaugh -- always a proponent of competition -- surely supports the exercise of relaxed intensity, especially considering the outcome.

"It's cool," Aldon said. "You get better having fun."

49ers 2017 NFL Draft picks

49ers 2017 NFL Draft picks

The San Francisco 49ers have a total of 10 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. 

Here is where they will be on the clock in each round:

49ERS 2017 DRAFT PICKS
1. First round: No. 2 overall
2. Second round: No. 34 overall
3. Third round: No. 66 overall
4. Fourth round: No. 109 overall
5. Fourth round: No. 143 overall (compensatory)
6. Fifth round: No. 146 overall
7. Fifth round: No. 161 (pick acquired from Washington in 2015 trade for TE Derek Carrier)
8. Sixth round: No. 186 overall
9. Sixth round: No. 202 overall (pick acquired from Denver in 2015 trade for TE Vernon Davis)
10. Seventh round: No. 219 overall (pick acquired from Cleveland in 2015 trade for Andy Lee)

Jameis Winston: Comments about girls were 'poor word choice'

Jameis Winston: Comments about girls were 'poor word choice'

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Jameis Winston is back in the spotlight - and not in a positive light - for what he described as a "poor word choice" in comments about women during a talk to Florida grade school students.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, who was accused of raping another student while at Florida State University but never charged, spoke for nearly 40 minutes to third through fifth graders at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg during an appearance this week.

When some of the students started getting fidgety, Winston told boys in the audience to stand up and girls to sit down, the Tampa Bay Times (http://bit.ly/2mkiPhJ ) reported.

"All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down," Winston told the children. "But all my boys, stand up. We strong, right? We strong! We strong, right? All my boys, tell me one time: I can do anything I put my mind to. Now a lot of boys aren't supposed to be soft-spoken."

The quarterback went on to say, "But the ladies, they're supposed to be silent, polite, gentle. My men, my men (are) supposed to be strong."

Asked later about the speech, Winston said he was attempting to interact with a young boy in the audience who didn't appear to be paying attention. He said he didn't want to single him out so he asked all the boys to stand.

"During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some," said Winston, who has been active in numerous community and charitable endeavors since entering the NFL as the No. 1 draft pick in 2015.

Bonnie Volland, a speech language pathologist at Melrose, said Winston's message about children being able to accomplish anything was positive. But when he told the boys to stand up and that they are strong, some of the girls took note.

"One of the girls turned around and looked at me and said, "I'm strong, too," Volland told the Times.

Winston was accused of raping a student in 2012 when they were both students at Florida State.

The quarterback has said they had consensual sex. He was not arrested and was never charged. Winston and the accuser settled a civil lawsuit in December.