It's nearly impossible to replace
Despite missing five games, the third-year linebacker was still leading the team with 3.5 sacks entering Week 10. That was until strong-side linebacker
"I want to get as many sacks as possible," Brooks told 49ers.com. "When you see guys around the league making 20 sacks, you want to be one of those guys. I'm moving up there. It was a slow start and then this past week, getting (two) sacks definitely helped out. I'm building confidence within myself."
Brooks was also happy to see Smith back on the field, helping him torment the opposing offense, even if it was only in a limited role against Caolina.
"With all the things he's going through, football takes pressure off of him," Brooks said. "It gets him from thinking or dealing with the daily stress he's going through. It was a good chance for him to go out there and play football. This is what he's doing, this is his career, this is what he loves to do."
Aiding Smith in his return to San Francisco is a strong locker room environment.
"We try to help each other out as much as possible," Brooks revealed about the team dynamic. "I've been through a lot of different situations where I needed someone to talk to. Sometimes you just need somebody's opinion, you need advice. You just want to hear someone say, 'Hey man, it's going to be OK.'"
PHOTOS: Aldon Smith at Practice
With Smith gone, rookie linebacker
"Corey, he's a great pass rusher," Brooks said of his protégé. "Dan Skuta, he did a good job filling in. He's not Aldon, but he's done a great job, especially this last game, setting the edge, making tackles, getting pressure on the quarterback. There were a few times where he almost had Cam Newton. He could have had two sacks. They've done a great job, and we'll continue to improve as a unit."
That depth will be key for San Francisco as they finish out the regular season with the Saints, a team that is 5-0 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
"This week is going to be a challenge," Brooks said. "Drew Brees drops back a lot, so I'm going to have opportunities to get to the quarterback.
"Losing this past week is going to put a lot of pressure on us. This is a must-win. We need to get this victory."