Alex Smith played well enough in 2011 to bring the 49ers to the NFC Championship game, but he received little credit along the way. In a league where throwing for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdown passes has become the standard, Smith put together a modest stat line of 3,144 yards and 17 touchdowns. He threw only five interceptions all year, which has resulted in his being labeled a “game manager.” Aaron Rodgers thinks that’s unfair.
“I think that term is a condescending term for quarterbacks,” Rodgers said according to USA TODAY Sports. “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.”
Fans and players around the league like this one have said on numerous occasions that Jim Harbaugh and the Niners simply try to put Smith in a position to not lose games. Harbaugh, on the other hand, says he believes Smith is an elite NFL quarterback.
Rodgers is right in the grand scheme of things. In many ways, a quarterback who throws for 17 touchdowns and leads their team to the NFC Championship has done a lot more than one who lights up the stat sheet but misses the postseason. That’s not to say the outcome of every game is solely in the hands of the quarterback, but the goal of NFL teams is to win games. If you do that, you’re doing your job whether you’re a Pro Bowler or simply a “game manager.”
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