Aldon Smith shows cobra-like striking ability


Aldon Smith shows cobra-like striking ability

SANTA CLARA -- If you slow down the video of Aldon Smith's last moments before striking, it's still a blur.One scout compares Smith's innate ability to ensnare quarterbacks to a cobra springing forward violently at its prey.Smith, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 7 overall pick from Missouri, is quick off the snap of the ball and has showcased plenty of power, too. But another unique aspect of his game is his ability to quickly finish the job, 49ers director of college scouting Joel Patten said.
Smith lashes forward with uncanny timing to quickly take down quarterback when he reaches striking distance. His burst might be only 6 inches or a foot, Patten said, but it's a unique gift that is rarely seen in players of any experience level.And Patten said Smith's gift is something that usually cannot be detected without the help of slow-motion replays. Patten spoke briefly with on Monday night outside the 49ers locker room after watching Smith turn in another outstanding game.
Smith recorded 2.5 sacks in the 49ers' 20-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had another sack nullified when a 49ers defensive back was called for illegal contact. (Smith shared a sack with Ray McDonald, as McDonald was given credit for a forced fumble on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.)Smith leads all NFL rookies with 13 sacks. Denver's Von Miller is second with 11.5 sacks. Smith is closing in on Jevon Kearse's all-time rookie record of 14.5 sacks in 1999. He has already set the franchise record for rookies, breaking Charles Haley's record of 12 sacks in 1986.Smith has placed himself on the short list of candidates for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. It's an honor that he considers a goal, he said."I hope so," Smith said when asked if he thought his performance Monday won him some votes. "I was just out there playing. If it happens, it happens."His cobra-like striking ability is just one of Smith's many rare pass-rushing attributes. He is listed at 6-foot-4, 258 pounds. His hands are powerful. His arms are long. He has the quickness of a speed rusher. He has deceptive strength that enables him to bull-rush offensive tackles, such as Pittsburgh's Max Starks, who struggled against Smith on Monday."There are some unique things we saw when we were first evaluating him," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "The fact that he could athletically avoid defenders in tight spaces, especially inside the tackles. He showed that at Missouri."The other thing is he was always on his feet. He was rarely off his feet -- even when he was knocked off his feet. He had a way of stopping himself just short of hitting the ground or popping back up like a spring. He's got some real gifts of God."

Chip Kelly: Lessons learned from his late father

Chip Kelly: Lessons learned from his late father

SANTA CLARA – San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly made his strongest statement, yet, about where he stands when it comes to seeking jobs elsewhere.

It is a view of commitment he said he learned from his father, E. Paul Kelly, who passed away on Friday at the age of 87. Kelly returned from his dad’s funeral in Portland, Maine, late Tuesday night.

Kelly held his typical Wednesday press briefing. Afterward, he went to the practice field, where numerous 49ers players greeted him with hugs. Just moments earlier, he guaranteed he will never leave a team while there are games remaining on the schedule.

“I will never leave my job for another job while a season is going on,” Kelly said. “I don’t think that’s fair. I didn’t do it when I was in college. I didn’t talk to anybody in the National Football League until after our bowl game was over.

“I will not leave a team with three games to go because I got a bigger, better deal. That’s not the way I’m wired. “

Kelly added, “It’s one thing I did learn from my dad. I have a commitment. They’ve made a commitment to me and I make a commitment to them. I’m not searching around and looking for other jobs while I have a job."

Despite stating multiple times in recent weeks he would not be returning to coach in the college ranks, Kelly’s name continued to surface in connection with the Oregon job. That possibility officially closed on Wednesday morning, as Oregon hired former South Florida coach Willie Taggart for the job.

Kelly’s father passed away on Friday night. Chip Kelly flew to the northeast to join his family, including his mother, who urged him to coach the 49ers’ game on Sunday in Chicago.

After the 49ers’ 26-6 loss to the Chicago Bears, Kelly returned to Maine to attend the services.

"I think you’re just really thankful for the time we had with him," Kelly said. "He lived a vibrant and long life, 87 years. He touched a lot of people in his life and it was evident to us yesterday when we had the funeral how many people came and expressed their condolences and reached out. He had a huge impact in his life. I think, it’s a difficult time. I think we all feel for my mom more than anything else, but it’s an opportunity to celebrate the times that we had with him and he was just a great man.”

Kelly described his dad as a “life-long learner” who had a “thirst for knowledge, an insatiable appetite for information.”

According to his obituary, which ran in the New Hampshire Union Leader, Paul Kelly taught the four Kelly rules to his kids at a young age:

Rule #1 - Have fun!
Rule #2 - Stick together!
Rule #3 - Love Mom!
Rule #4 -&%$*# Dad!

Chip Kelly has demonstrated a wry sense of humor during his first season with the 49ers. But he said he does not compare to his father.

"I don’t have any sense of humor compared to my dad," Kelly said. "I think he was special in that manner. He just had a zest for life. He was one of the happiest people you ever met.

The obituary also stated Paul Kelly was “a truly devoted San Francisco 49ers fan.”

“My dad’s loyal now," Chip Kelly said. "He knows where his son was. He actually got buried in 49ers gear. He did not want to wear a suit in the coffin. He wore a suit for his whole career as a trial lawyer, but he wanted to wear a 49ers sweat suit when he passed away.”

Cosell: It's fascinating that Kelly clearly didn't want Kaepernick to throw

Cosell: It's fascinating that Kelly clearly didn't want Kaepernick to throw

Colin Kaepernick was benched after three quarters on Sunday.

He completed 1-of-5 passes for four yards.

"To me, what's most fascinating about that is what Chip's approach was," Greg Cosell said on KNBR 680 on Monday evening. "Chip (Kelly) clearly did not want him to throw the ball ... it was clear to me that Kaepernick does not throw a wet or a cold ball very well...

"He has small hands so I'm wondering if he just couldn't really throw the ball effectively in this kind of weather.

"Hey, Troy Aikman always said, 'I couldn't throw a wet ball.'"

Kaepernick was sacked five times for -25 total yards.

"Looking at the sacks, there were opportunities for tighter window, but NFL throws -- and first of all, I don't think Kaepernick is that guy under normal circumstances -- and my sense is, he didn't feel comfortable in this weather," Cosell added. "He certainly wasn't gonna cut it loose on those kinds of throws in this weather.

"Maybe Chip knew that, maybe he didn't. But to me, as I said, it's more fascinating that he didn't have him throw the ball at all."

Blaine Gabbert supplanted Kaepernick and completed 4-of-10 passes for 35 yards. He was sacked once.