New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride pulled a veteran move before the trip to visit the San Francisco 49ers this weekend. He praised the 49ers' defenders, then gave the officials something to look for.
"Smith is a beast on the inside," Gilbride told reporters, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "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."
OK, that was a little stronger than "imply."
Gilbride just wants to give officials something to keep in mind -- even if that stuff happens weekly on both sides of the ball. Flags rarely are thrown as long as hands are kept inside the shoulder pads without arms blatantly outstretched. Gilbride's offensive linemen will employ the same tactic Sunday.
Nothing wrong with a little pregame gamesmanship. And Gilbride might have just bought his team a call or two.
UPDATE: 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh responded to Gilbride's comments in a statement released by the team Friday: "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."
UPDATE II: Smith told reporters that Gilbride's comments don't bother him.
"I mean, I really don't know what he's talking about, to be honest with you," Smith said, via The Associated Press. "But if he's trying to talk himself, get some bulletin board stuff, good for him. Whatever they need to do. It doesn't bother me. I'm going to have him look him up and see who it is."
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.