- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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Next up: Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride accusing one of the San Francisco 49ers' best players, Justin Smith, of playing outside the rules.
"They have great players," Gilbride said, according to an interview transcript distributed by the Giants. "They're tremendous, they're tough. They have great speed on the outside, 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, in conjunction with the ability level they have, makes them as formidable as anybody we go against, and we go against some pretty good ones in Dallas' and Philadelphia's. They're as good as anybody up front."
How's that for working in a jab to the kidney between pats on the back?
Defensive holding is an unusual call against linemen. Smith has incurred two such calls since 2009, tied for the NFL lead among defensive linemen. That included once in 2011, during a Week 9 game against Washington. The 49ers and Giants played a week later.
Smith and teammate Aldon Smith do work very well together on twists. We'll be watching Sunday to see whether officials pay extra attention to Gilbride's complaints.
In 2003, then-Seattle guard Steve Hutchinson lobbied officials to call defensive holding against the St. Louis Rams' line. Officials wound up flagging Rams defensive lineman Brian Young for holding Seahawks left tackle Walter Jones on a third-down play late in the game, a very unusual call at a critical time. The penalty gave Seattle first-and-goal. The Seahawks scored the winning touchdown a few plays later, with about a minute remaining.