Aldon Smith is active for the 49ers against the Giants at Metlife Stadium today. How active? That’s yet to be determined.
The linebacker and prominent pass rusher was added to the 49ers’ roster on Saturday after practicing with the team for the first time this week. He served a nine-game suspension for violating the league’s policies on substance abuse and personal conduct.
The Giants had been preparing to face him throughout the week.
“Who knows?” right tackle Justin Pugh said of whether he would face Smith and how often that might happen. “It depends on what their plan is for him coming back in the first game. I’m sure he’ll be in there.”
Pugh said he recalled coming off an injury in college and the mix of having fresh legs but also being out of condition that met him. He suspects Smith, who was not injured, will experience similar feelings.
“I think he’s definitely fresh, he’ll be feeling good,” Pugh said. “At the same time, he hasn’t played. This is like his first preseason game. It’s a mixture of both. Football shape is definitely way different than just running around or doing cardio.”
The Giants’ best way to combat Smith’s pass rush may be the return of their own player. Running back Rashad Jennings, who missed the last four games with a sprained MCL, is playing today. He is their best running back in pass protection (and many other areas, for that matter) and should provide a bit of a safety blanket for Eli Manning.
As for the Giants’ inactive players, there were no surprises. DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion) were already ruled out. Also sitting are CB Mike Harris, OL Adam Snyder (a former 49er!), DE Kerry Wynn, OL James Brewer and OL Brandon Mosley. That means newly promoted LB Justin Anderson, signed off the Giants’ practice squad on Saturday when RB Peyton Hillis was put on IR with a concussion, will make his NFL debut. And RB Orleans Darkwa, signed by the Giants off the Dolphins’ practice squad on Tuesday, will also be active.
Also, for the first time this year the Giants will have four Browns active: T Charles Brown, CB Chykie Brown, K Josh Brown and S Stevie Brown. Considering how well the team in Cleveland has been playing, maybe that will help.