Playing OLB opposite Smith, Brooks was the beneficiary of less attention thanks to Smith's rapid evolution into an elite pass rusher.
“Aldon is so swift. It's unbelievable to watch him go out there and perform,” Brooks said. “If they do double-team him, triple-team him, then someone has to be open.”
Brooks is hoping that'll be him even more so this year than last, when he set career highs in tackles (50) and sacks (7).
“It's like bread and butter,” Brooks said. “Just by having a combination of us two guys. Even if they try to block us, they can't block us.”
Brooks is convinced he's on his way to setting another career high in sacks, which would fall in line with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's expectations.
Since Fangio arrived as a part of Jim Harbaugh's staff last year, he's seen Brooks' game improve and wants him to take the next step as a pass rusher.
“I think he's got to improve his technique, just the little things that go into becoming a top pass rusher, and he's shown that he's on his way to doing that so far in this camp,” Fangio said. “But I think he's got a whole lot more he can give us in the pass rush that he gave us last year consistently.”
With a schedule that includes QBs Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady, the 49ers will take all the pass rush help they can get.