Vic Fangio's San Francisco 49ers front seven was widely viewed as the NFL's best entering last season.
In guessing the length of Smith's absence, this was essentially a worst-case scenario.
It's Smith's absence that could be the most debilitating, however. Entering his fourth season, he has averaged the most sacks per game (0.98) since it became an official statistic in 1982.
If Justin Smith takes a step back in his age-35 season, Fangio will have to make scheme adjustments to cobble together an effective pass rush in September and October.
Every year, at least one of the consensus NFL superpowers takes a step back and -- much to the dismay of its shocked fan base -- misses the postseason.