Kevin Gilbride said it months ago when he proclaimed Justin Smith "gets away with murder." The New York Giants offensive coordinator was joined by St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who was more judicious with his description, in saying the San Francisco 49ers defensive end has a propensity to hold guards and tackles.
"I'm not implying, I'm just stating facts," Fisher said, via The Sacramento Bee. "And I'm not complaining. Everybody does it, and Justin does a great job of it. As long as his feet are moving toward the quarterback, it won't get called. It's a legal act.
"Now if he grabs and pulls backward -- a pull and shoot -- it's not necessarily legal, but it's something that's going to be called."
Niners coach Jim Harbaugh didn't take kindly to Gilbride's original sentiments. He released a statement that read: "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."
Fisher really did sound complimentary. And if the officials pay a little extra attention to Smith's hands, that only helps the Rams cause.
"The one that's most effective is the grab game, it's been in the game forever," Fisher said about the stunts between Smith and Aldon Smith. "And Justin does a great job of it, a really good job of it."
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.