Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/6/12
In just his second NFL season, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has already been compared to some of the league's all-time greats. That's what happens when a player is as productive as Smith has been this year. With four games left in the regular season, Smith is on pace to break Michael Strahan's single-season NFL sack record. He has17.5 sacks entering Sunday's home game against Miami and needs five sacks the rest of the way to tie Strahan (22.5). "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," All-Pro 49ers defensive lineman 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." No player has a better view of Aldon's success than Justin. On most snaps, both Smiths line up on the right side and work together to create what has arguably turned into the most difficult one-two punch in the NFL. “It’s a well-coached defensive line, and just like anything else, it’s hard in football for one guy to do it all on his own," Miami coach Joe Philbin said. "So I think (Justin Smith) does an excellent job as well. He's been a productive, good football player in this league for a long time, and they’re a pair to deal with, no question." The tandem has a favorable matchup this week against the Dolphins. Miami rookie offensive tackle Jonathan Martin will make his first career start at left tackle in place of Jake Long, who suffered a season-ending triceps tear last week against New England. Martin, the team's second-round pick out of Stanford, had started every game this season on the right side. Justin Smith made it clear the rookie is in a tough spot. "He's a serviceable tackle in this league," Smith said. "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." Martin was originally viewed a potential first-round pick, but slipped to the second round when it was determined he was a better fit at right tackle. “I mean he walked in here and has been a starter since the day he got here basically, and he just keeps working," Philbin said. "He's got a long way to go, but I think his pro career is off to a good start.”
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