Posted: 5:44 p.m. Thursday, July 25, 2013
By David Fucillo
San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith was one of the 49ers players made available in the media tent, and he was quickly able to confirm he was 100% and ready to go for training camp. The 49ers all-world lineman tore his triceps during last season's Week 15 win over the New England Patriots. Smith underwent surgery shortly after the season, and is back to terrorize opposing offenses in 2013.
Following the initial tear, Smith sat out the final two regular season games, and returned for the 49ers three-game playoff run. While Smith was able to impact games when he returned, it was clear he was not playing at 100%. Furthermore, the rest of the defense suffered and it was pretty clear throughout the postseason.
In his press conference today, Smith was intent on looking ahead, and correcting issues. Smith was asked for specifics, and while he did not go into too much detail, it is easy to infer a few things from the video (linked above). When asked about troubles, he said that the game boils down to technique. He added that as the season wears on and you're been deep in the playoffs two straight seasons, you sometimes start to think you can just walk out and "it" happens.
He wouldn't confirm the team got lazy, but his comments seem to sort of infer a hint of that. When a team has played so many games and done a solid job, I can see how they might start to think they can just sort of flip the switch in a given game. That could be one of the upsides of bringing in a decent amount of new talent. You've got guys who are looking to experience what the 49ers have experienced the last two seasons, and maybe that brings some additional drive.