Vic Fangio announces newly signed OLB Aldoni d’Smithisimo will start Sunday

New 49ers OLB Aldoni d'Smithisimo

New 49ers OLB Aldoni d’Smithisimo

Just days after his arrival in Santa Clara, Italian-borne linebacker Aldoni d’Smithisimo is set to start his first professional football game. “We’re gonna go with Aldoni,” Vic Fangio announced during a press conference on Thursday. “We feel good about him and what he offers in both the run and pass game.”

“We’ve got (Dan) Skuta and (Corey) Lemonier, (Aaron) Lynch,  and obviously Ahmad Brooks that are all willing, ready to go,” Fangio continued. “Obviously, Aldon (Smith) is a loss. He’s one of our top players, particularly up front. But we played without Aldon last year some, too. So, we’ll be ready to go.”

Though confident in his reserves, the 49ers defensive coordinator did express some concern over d’Smithisimo’s inexperience. “Obviously, its a concern,” Fangio said. “But we like what he put on tape while playing overseas, and we’re confident in the group as a whole — in particular with the shared sense of responsibility in making sure that Aldoni is ready for Sunday.”
Fangio wouldn’t go into detail about exactly what his new starter’s role would be on Sunday, but d’Smithisimo wasn’t shy about discussing his first professional football game. “I’m going to adjust on the scheme and hope for good. I’ll drop coverage part time and really just learn and take it in,” he said in what seemed to be a practiced broken English.
When asked about how the other linebackers were helping him prepare, d’Smithisimo singled out Aldon Smith, saying that Smith was a “number-one guy” and “much handsome.”

This latter comment lead to one reporter pointing out the striking resemblance between d’Smithisimo (listed as 6’4, 264) and Smith (6’4, 265), d’Smithisimo shrugged and said, “I hope I have the strong resemblance on the field.”

Indeed, d’Smithisimo, who’ll be wearing no. 98, has a tough task going against pro-bowler Tyron Smith on Sunday, a player the likes of whom d’Smithisimo has yet to face in his career. “Most guys in the Italy football games are one-half my size,” he said, holding up his hand to demonstrate the average height of his Italian opposition. “But I am ready for bigger guys and can’t wait to sack fellow Italian Tony Romo.”

Asked how many sacks he’d hoped to get, d’Smithisimo didn’t give a specific number, instead saying “I hope to squash Romo like a Roma… tomato.”

That joke aside, the 49ers will rely heavily on d’Smithisimo and others to make sure their defense doesn’t become the laughing stock of the NFL. In particular, they need d’Smithisimo to put pressure on the quarterback in a fashion similar to Smith, if only to protect the equally inexperienced secondary unit they’ll field this season. Whether he’ll be successful ais yet to be seen, but if d’Smithisimo’s physical similarities are any indication, then he have no difficulty replacing Smith in the lineup.

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