Jim Harbaugh is never one to back down from a fight, which we have learned in his tenure as the coach of the 49ers.
So did you think he would keep quiet when one of his players was criticized by an opposing coach? Not a chance, especially when that coach is from the New York Giants, the Niners’ Week 6 opponent who knocked them out of the playoffs a year ago.
On Thursday, Giants’ offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride made some stinging remarks to the New York media regarding 49ers’ defensive end Justin Smith:
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.
What Gilbride is implying is that Smith grabs a hold of opposing lineman to enable pass-rushers to attack the quarterback.
Harbaugh obviously did not like one of his veterans being singled out, and fired back in a statement:
Kevin Gilbride’s outrageous, irrational statement regarding Justin Smith’s play is, first, an absurd analogy. 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.
Is Harbaugh saying this just to fire up his team? Or is he standing up for one of the more well-respected players in the league?
Perhaps it’s a little bit of both, but as you can see, there is never a dull moment when something gets under Jim Harbaugh’s nerves.