Aldon Smith up against 'serviceable' tackle


Aldon Smith up against 'serviceable' tackle

SANTA CLARA -- Outside linebacker Aldon Smith is already on a pace greater than any pass rusher since the NFL began keeping statistics in 1982.

His 31.5 career sacks are the most for any player in the first two seasons of his career. And he still has four games to create even more separation from the late Reggie White, a Hall of Famer who is No. 2 on the list with 31.

Andre Carter and Dana Stubblefield previously shared the 49ers mark with 19 sacks apiece in their first two seasons.

Smith leads the NFL this season with 17.5 sacks, which ties him with Hall of Famer Fred Dean (1983) for most single-season sacks in 49ers franchise history.

And Smith has a chance to challenge Michael Strahan's single-season NFL record of 22.5, which the former New York Giants defensive end set in 2001. Perhaps the person who has given Smith the biggest assist during his two seasons is convinced that the record — though highly achievable — is down on the list of priorities.

"He is chasing history, and he's going to keep doing what he does, and that's to make the plays to help the team win," 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith said. "And if, along the way, he gets the record, then so be it. We're all pulling for him, hope he gets it, and we're pretty confident he will."

The Miami Dolphins, who face the 49ers on Sunday at Candlestick Park, are scrambling this week to prepare for the right side of the 49ers' defensive front: Aldon Smith and Justin Smith.

That's because All-Pro left tackle Jake Long is out for the season with a torn triceps he sustained last week against the New England Patriots. The Dolphins will counter with a move that sends rookie Jonathan Martin, a first-round draft pick from Stanford, to the side in which the 49ers line up the Smiths.

Theoretically, that should make things easier. But the 49ers realize that the Dolphins will not leave Martin alone to deal with Aldon Smith.

"He's a serviceable tackle in this league," Justin Smith said of Martin. "It's definitely not Long in there. But there's things you can do. You can chip. You can slide the line. You can do some more bootlegs, which is a big part of their offense as well, to help him out. We kind of anticipate all those type of deals going on."

According to Pro Football Focus, Justin Smith might have paid Martin a compliment. Martin ranks 56th out of 60 offensive tackles in the league who have played 60-percent of more of the snaps this season. The ratings take into account in pass-blocking, run-blocking and penalties.

Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions


Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions

SANTA CLARA – While rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard is taking a micro view of his promotion, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is not shy about admitting he is looking at the big picture.

Shanahan said how Beathard performs after replacing Brian Hoyer as starting quarterback will have “a ton” of influence on how the 49ers proceed during the offseason.

After all, the 49ers know every position will come under tremendous scrutiny as the organization looks to add the pieces that will make the club competitive.

“That’s for every position. That’s for every player on our team. That’s for every coach on our team,” Shanahan said. “We’re 0-6, and that’s extremely tough. But I’m extremely excited about this place and excited about where we’re at and where we’re going. There’s not a moment that I don’t waste thinking about that stuff.”

Beathard will make his first NFL start on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium.

Hoyer failed in his bid to earn consideration as the 49ers’ quarterback for the remainder of this season and beyond during his six starts. Hoyer completed just 58 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating was 74.1.

Now, Beathard gets his chance. But he said he is not thinking about the big picture and what it might mean for the future.

“I’m really just trying to take it one day, one week at a time,” Beathard said. “I’m not looking that far ahead. Right now, my focus is on today’s practice and geared towards beating the Cowboys and doing the best we can to get better and improve.”

Beathard was pressed into action last week when Hoyer’s struggles continued at Washngton. Beathard stepped in and completed 19 of 36 passes for 245 yards with a touchdown and an interception. For the first time, Beathard is getting the first-team practice snaps with a game plan that is designed specifically for him.

Said Beathard, “Getting those extra reps, reps with guys that you don’t usually throw to, in the huddle with the guys that are out there, I think it’ll help a lot.”

Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates


Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates

More than 35 players from the 49ers’ first Super Bowl champion will be in attendance on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium to show support for Dwight Clark, who revealed in March he was diagnosed with ALS.

Clark, 60, will have ample opportunity to reconnect with some of his old friends on Saturday evening and again on Sunday. At halftime, Joe Montana, surrounded by most of the 49ers' 1981 team, will introduce Clark before a video tribute.

Clark is also expected to make some remarks while situated in a suite for the 49ers’ game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Montana and his wife, Jennifer, have remained in close contact with Clark and his wife, Kelly. The Clarks recently watched the Blue Angels in San Francisco with the Montanas during Fleet Week.

“He’s getting pretty inundated with everyone staying in touch with him at this point,” Montana said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“It’s fun for him. At one point, he was telling his wife, Kelly, ‘This is what it’s all about. This is what I want and what I miss, seeing the guys.’ So any of the guys reaching out to him, he surely appreciates it.”

Montana said Clark has not lost his positive outlook or his sense of humor, as evidenced by some not-fit-for-print words he recently had about his wheelchair. Montana said there are always some good laughs and stories any time Clark gets together with his friends.

“That’s the fun part," Montana said. “You just try to get him to forget what’s there, and that you’re there for him whenever. I think the support is the biggest thing right now. In that stage of ALS, it's got to be getting tough, where all of a sudden, things are becoming more and more difficult.”