This Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers host the New York Giants in a war between two of the top teams in the NFC. However, the first battle started Thursday and Friday after New York’s offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride suggested that defensive end Justin Smith is allowed to get away with murder, when it came to grabbing offensive lineman. That prompted Smith’s head coach, Jim Harbaugh to jump to his defense.
Gilbride was asked what made San Fran’s front defensive seven so tough and he responded by saying, “Ability. That’s it. They have great players. They’re tremendous, they’re tough. They have great speed on the outside, (Justin) Smith is a beast on the inside — he’s strong, he does as good a job of grabbing a hold of offensive linemen and allowing those twists to take place. He never gets called for it, so he gets away with murder.”
That was the comment that got under Harbaugh’s skin as he accused Gilbride of trying to influence the officials.
“Kevin Gilbride’s outrageous, irrational statement regarding Justin Smith’s play is, first, an absurd analogy,” Harbaugh said in the statement. “Second, it is an incendiary comment targeting one of the truly exemplary players in this league. It’s obvious that the Giants coaching staff’s sole purpose is to use their high visibility to both criticize and influence officiating.”