49ers Smith relishes matchup with Solder


49ers Smith relishes matchup with Solder

Aldon Smith has 19.5 sacks entering Sunday night's game. He sounds optimistic he'll be well past 20 if he's matched up with Nate Solder all night.

In a Q&A with the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, Smith was asked about his college matchup with Solder when the Patriots left tackle was at Colorado and Smith was a freshman at Missouri.

Q: Do you remember what happened when you faced Nate Solder in college?ALDON SMITH: I had a good game.Q: You had three sacks.ALDON SMITH: Four.Q: Must have been looking at the wrong box score.ALDON SMITH: Must have.Q: Does that give you good feeling going into this game?ALDON SMITH: Yeah. I faced him in college and I know who he is.Q: Is it just a good matchup for you?ALDON SMITH: I was able to beat him, yeah.Q: Is he a much different player now?ALDON SMITH: Im sure he improved. He made it this far. Hes starting.
There's a little more in the interview, including a quote from Smith where he says "We can stop them," in reference to the Patriots offense.

Context is important on that one. The question posed was, "We asked Fangio if he enjoys facing the Patriots, and he asked us if we were sadists. When you look at the Patriots offense, do you say, 'Wow, how do we stop them?' or 'We can stop them.'

What's the kid supposed to say?

Either way, Solder is enjoying a good 2012 season in his first run as the Patriots full-time left tackle. Not only is he better than he was when he faced Smith, he's miles better now than he was in the preseason.

He's allowed three sacks, five QB hits and 25 quarterback hurries according to Pro Football Focus. The hurries are the most subjective of the three stats. Personally, I'd consider a "hurry" to be charged when a quarterback is facing impending doom and gets rid of the ball prematurely to avoid a sack allowed by the offending lineman.

It should be an interesting matchup. And, regardless of how well Solder's playing, the Patriots are certain to devote a lot of attention to stopping Smith.

Report: 3 owners unhappy with Kraft's amicus brief on behalf of Brady


Report: 3 owners unhappy with Kraft's amicus brief on behalf of Brady

Three NFL owners have expressed “extreme disappointment” in Robert Kraft and the Patriots filing an amicus brief on behalf of Tom Brady in the quarterback’s appeal of the Second Circuit Court’s reinstatement of his Deflategate suspension, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. 

The Patriots filed the brief on Wednesday. 

The owners see the move as a publicity stunt done to appease Brady and the Patriots fans, Cole said, and they don’t believe Kraft did it any seriousness because the issue speaks to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ability to punish players and undermines the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players.

If Kraft thought it mattered, he wouldn't have done it, Cole said one owner told him. 

Collins, Hightower mum on contract talks


Collins, Hightower mum on contract talks

FOXBORO – A fleet of Patriots have expiring contracts after this season but Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins are the two most prominent on that list.

With the sport being the way it is – a nearly 100-percent casualty rate every season – it’s never comfortable for a player to enter a contract year without knowing his long-term future. And it’s especially uncomfortable for players whose first contracts are expiring because the second NFL contract is usually the bonanza.

Both Hightower and Collins can entertain thoughts of contracts worth more than $50M if good fortune sticks with them.

The question as it pertains to both of these players is whether they get contract extensions this summer or whether they go into the year with contract pressure bearing down and ultimately become free agents.

Neither player was very forthcoming after their OTA practice Thursday.

With Collins, that’s often the case. He’s never been expansive with media. It was very uncharacteristic for Hightower to be so clipped in his answers, though.

Every question posed to Hightower was met with a variation of, “I’m just trying to get better.”

Asked about his contract, Hightower replied, “I ain’t got nothing to do with none of that. I’m just out here trying to get better with my teammates.”

When it was pointed out that Hightower does indeed have say on his contract, he answered, “That might be. But there’s a time and place for everything and I’m just out here trying to get better.

“If I get better I feel like that’ll take care of everything else,” he added. “If I get better each and every day that’s all I can ask for.”

Asked whether he’s at all focused on his deal, Collins replied, “No, I come out here and I handle my business and I let the rest speak for itself … My first priority is me. So I’m gonna handle me."