Smith had seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, one tackle-for-loss and three quarterback hits in the 49ers' 25-19 victory over the Lions last season. Most of that was against Sims.
“You put that game on your list way back before the season even starts,” Sims said of Sunday night’s matchup in San Francisco against the 49ers and Smith.
“You know Week 2 you’re playing Justin Smith. It may not sound like that much to everybody, but to me, my wife (Natalie) knows it’s Justin Smith week – get out of my way. She knows.
“When you play great players you have to have a different mindset and that’s the thing about Justin. He comes to play every single week and every single play and that’s what makes him great.”
Sims said one of the reasons he decided to add 20 pounds to his frame this offseason was, in part, because of his performance against Smith last year. It’s a performance Sims described as “not in my character.”
“I think it’s because I was pumped up for that game,” he said. “I’m kind of cool and like to have a good time out there. That’s who I am and the player I am. I need to revert back to that.
“He was definitely one of the guys I had in mind when I was putting the weight on and stuff like that. He’s a great football player and I love watching him work.”
Sims says Natalie understands what a week like this is all about being the daughter of former Dolphins running back Tony Nathan.
“She knows,” Sims said. “Her father played in the league and coached in the league. She knows when you have an important game and stuff like that your temperament level is a little different when you get home. She understands that.”
Sims has been looking forward to this matchup with the 49ers defense and Justin Smith for months.
“This is what a heavyweight fight is going to look like, basically, only in football,” he said. “It’s their best vs. our best. We have respect for them and hopefully they have respect for us.”