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“Why Aldon Smith May Not be Suspended & Why His Signing Will Now Pay Dividends; The Morality Question”

Aldon Smith Prepares for the Bengals
Aldon Smith Prepares for the Bengals

“Why Aldon Smith May Not be Suspended & Why His Signing Will Now Pay Dividends; The Morality Question”

The Oakland Raiders shocked the NFL by signing often troubled DE/LB Aldon Smith with a 1 year contract.  He played against the Bengals just 2 days after signing.

Aldon Smith served a 9 game suspension last year after a DUI incident the year before. He also left for part of the 2013 season to go to rehabilitation after another incident.

Last month Smith was arrested for his second DUI hit and run in 2 years.   If you add his felony weapons charges at a house party, marijuana possession, illegal assault rifle possession, and his arrest at an airport for saying he had a bomb; Mr. Smith has been quite a busy young man. You and I would be in prison for a long time but this is the NFL. He’s spent a total of 2 weeks in jail, with many felonies dropped to misdemeanors and the charges at the airport being dropped. The best justice money can buy.

To his credit though Smith is well liked and players say he’s a good teammate.  The 49ers though; after saying they want to win with class; pretty much had to let go of Smith after his latest arrest.

The Moral Question on the Smith Signing:

Let’s be real; if a good player leaves a team due to arrests, the team and the fans say good riddens. If a new team signs the player the fan base and the team downplay the arrests and bad actions and make excuses. It’s the homeritis that is what the NFL has become.

The days of Lou Gehrig, Walter Payton and Roger Staubach are over.   From the strip club scandal in New York years ago, to the womanizing, steroids, and off the field arrests; many athletes should NOT be looked up to. Are their good ones? Of course there are. But our moral role models should be those that love and know us, not athletes through hero worship. They only show us what we want to see; and sometimes we only hear what we want to hear about them. It is our weakness.

As fans I think what people should care about is can this guy keep his nose clean, not hurt anyone, and can he play football. Adrian Peterson was the king in Minnesota until the stories of him having several kids with several women, possible child abuse and the news that he even had a kid from a one night stand who tragically passed away.   I love Adrian Peterson the player; but as a person it’s another story.

Tiger Woods was superman and Mr. Family, until his almost 2 dozen “side things” were found out and he was exposed. Professionally and personally he’s never been near the same.

We fans get it wrong sometimes too especially when we rip on players and teams for scandals. Character is what you do behind closed doors when no one is looking. Over 37 million married people are on ONE married cheaters dating site. I’m sure some are probably the same people that tear apart politicians, and rip on Tom Brady for deflating a ball 1 PSI. All the while they lie to their spouses and kids being so narcissistic thinking it’s not hurting anyone.

If Smith couldn’t play football teams and fans would not care about what happens in his life. He is only 25 and is a pass rushing machine so people care. So in ending I have no issues with signing Aldon Smith. This is football and not church.   If it was church Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones with their partying photos with young women barely old enough to be their grand kids, wouldn’t be allowed to own teams.

Why a Suspension May Not Happen:

The NFL has stated that they are going to wait for the courts outcome in the case to see what their discipline will be with Aldon Smith. The Santa Clara County courts said that Aldon Smith will be charged with 3 misdemeanors including DUI, hit and run, and vandalism.   Smith vehemently denies the allegations and I’m sure his high priced lawyers are thinking of a fun story to get him off of the charges. Look for a plea deal and pay off of some kind.

Local rumors have it that Smith has been saying he accidentally must have hit someone in a parking lot and that he unknowingly did this and that he was not drunk. With a great lawyer he may be able to get off of this completely just like his airport arrest. If he does get off the charges, the bumbling NFL who look as disciplined and organized as a Three Stooges short won’t touch it.

As Ernie McCracken said in the movie Kingpin after winning the million dollar bowling tournament, “I’m now above the law”. At times athletes and celebrities often are.   Smith has been a train wreck of a person. His house parties are of legend and he would even have $10 cover charges to help with the costs!

Smith’s arraignment will be October 6th. It is viable that a plea deal may occur after this time, or the charges may eventually be dropped. Having ties to the local media I’m sure helped the Raiders make a choice. I see Smith maybe getting no suspension and the 49ers sitting in chairs with their mouths open.

What Does Smith Do For The Raiders?:

Smith is only 25 and is a pass rushing machine. If I were the Raiders I would have rather done a 2 year deal; the 49ers did an incentive laden deal last year and I think Smith would have gone for it again.

Smith changes the Raiders exponentially. It wont be seen until he plays full time and when he’s in football shape. He only played a little over 20 plays Sunday against the Bengals and had little impact. The Raiders corners have been a weakness and a great pass rush protects them and makes them better immediately. Smith is also a good run stopper. The Raiders still need to have good tackle play but Smith helps a lot.

With him on the field the Raiders pass rush goes from a 3 to a possible 8.   With him playing on one end and Mack on the other, the Raiders have a quality 1-2 pass rush punch. The key in the NFL with the ridiculous passing rules, is to rush the passer with only 4 DL and stop the run. If you can’t do this, there is no way you can have a successful defense. The pass rush is the most important thing after a quarterback in the NFL.

If I’m building a team, I get a great QB and a great DL first. Then I go OL and playmakers. Not many fans could name Seattle’s top 4 WR but they have a DL that is the best in the NFL, and a playmaking Quarterback that is a great leader. That’s what wins Super Bowls.

Is it Worth the Risk?

Absolutely. It doesn’t fix all the defensive woe’s but it sure helps.  It’s the one signing I’ve been calling the Raiders to make.  A pass rushing stud that can rush the quarterback. They won’t say it but the Raiders know their pass rush doesn’t cut it. An improved Khalil Mack isn’t the answer to near the worst pass rush in the NFL. Mack wasn’t much of a factor on opening day for the Raiders.

They also FINALLY get that they can’t win without a pass rush. Aldon Smith fills that role perfectly. He is a top 3 pass rusher and immediately improves the Raiders defense in a big way.

It is a good risk and shows that the Raiders are finally getting it that their defensive line and pass rush has to be the focus of the defense if they are going to get to the next level, and not rely on countless defensive back busts.  Seattle, Arizona, Harbaugh’s 49ers, Wilfork with New England, the Giants Super Bowls, etc…  The list of examples is a long one.

Tom Brady shredded the Seahawks in the second half of the Super Bowl because they changed their blocking scheme and stopped the Seahawks pass rush. The best DB’s in the NFL are still toast with today’s ridiculous rules if you can’t rush the passer. The hopes are that Aldon Smith will do just that and be a key piece to a successful season for the Oakland Raiders and their fans.