This week, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers defended San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith from being called a “game manager” and said that it is a term used with a negative connotation.
Rodgers said “I think that term is a condescending term for quarterbacks.”
He goes on further to say “I don’t think he’s a game manager. I think he’s a guy who takes care of the football and makes a lot of plays. I don’t think he got the respect that he deserves. I’ve been friends with him since we were 21 and I’ve followed his career. I definitely pull for him and enjoy watching him play.”
In 2005, the 49ers could have drafted Rodgers, who eventually went to the Packers with the 24th choice in the first round. With the first pick of the draft, Smith was chosen. He started immediately and it didn’t begin well for him. In his first seven starts, he went 2-5 with one touchdown and 11 interceptions.
His second year in the league showed glimpses of why he the team though of him so highly as he went 7-9. After the season, though, offensive coordinator Norv Turner–who played a major role in his development–went on to become the coach of the San Diego Chargers.
Injuries, inconsistency and a lack of retaining offensive coordinators became the norm for the 49ers and played a key role into the struggles of the franchise and of Smith. Then 2011 came and Jim Harbaugh added Greg Roman to run the offense.
Going away from the norm of being a pass oriented attack, the offense predicated itself on running the football and winning the time of possession battle. Running back Frank Gore had the most attempts and yards since 2006 when he had 312 carries for 1,695 yards and rookie Kendall Hunter impressed as his primary backup.
With the success of the running game, Smith had his best season of his career as he set career highs in completion percentage and yards. He also set a career low for interceptions.
In 2012 there are high expectations for the 49ers after a 13-3 season and getting to the NFC Championship game. The additions of Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James in the backfield and wide receivers Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and A.J. Jenkins justify those expectations.
As for Rodgers, he sat on the bench for his first three seasons with the Packers and got to learn from an all-time in Brett Favre. Since taking over for him, he has been great and has won a Super Bowl MVP and a MVP Award.
Sunday marks the start of the regular season and the two teams will be facing off in Green Bay.