Rodgers says Smith needs to be where he’s “appreciated”


Seven years ago, quarterbacks Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers both were vying to be the top pick in the draft.  Rodgers particularly wanted to be taken by the team that held the first overall selection, since he grew up a fan of the 49ers.

But the Niners opted for Smith, sparking a slide that carried Rodgers into the 20s.

Since then, things have worked out pretty well, to say the least, for Rodgers.  Despite sitting on the bench behind Brett Favre for three years in Green Bay, Rodgers has become one of the best quarterbacks in the game, winning the Super Bowl MVP award in 2010 and the league MVP trophy in 2011.

Smith was on his way to finally emerging as an elite quarterback, until a concussion opened the door for Colin Kaepernick to supplant Smith.  And while Kaepernick’s play has for the most part justified the move, Rodgers thinks Smith got a raw deal.

“He comes in, he’s [got a] 70 percent completion [percentage], he’s [got a] 100-plus quarterback rating,” Rodgers recently told NFL Network, via Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle.  “Last year, he’s like barely over one percent interception percentage.  He’s a great quarterback, he just needs to go somewhere he gets appreciated for the skills he has and hopefully he gets a chance next year.”

It’s likely that Smith will be leaving, unless Kaepernick comes apart in the postseason.  But the question is whether Smith’s better-late-than-never performances are a product of the tutelage of coach Jim Harbaugh.  If so, it may be hard to duplicate that elsewhere.Meanwhile, with the 49ers and Packers possibly destined for a playoff rematch, Rodgers’ words likely will be used to get Kaepernick appropriately riled up in order to show Rodgers that the better quarterback has emerged with the job.

62 responses to “Rodgers says Smith needs to be where he’s “appreciated”

  1. If anything, I’d argue that he’s one of the best in the game partly because he sat behind Favre (an All Time great, hate him or love him) for three years, not despite the fact. As for the content of the article itself, Aaron is looking out for his homie. Nothing wrong, there.

  2. “Smith was on his way to finally emerging as an elite quarterback”

    No, no he wasn’t. He was emerging as a good quarterback. But he was nowhere near elite. That’s not a knock on Smith — there’s very few people on this planet that will ever be able to say they were a “good” NFL quarterback. But let’s not exaggerate Smith’s situation. He was never approaching elite. Quarterbacks that are approaching “elite” status aren’t benched for unproven rookies.

  3. “Smith was on his way to finally emerging as an elite quarterback” err, Elite game manager maybe? But definately not elite…

  4. I’ve got an idea, they should trade Rodgers for Smith! We’d ABSOLUTELY appreciate him here.

    -Signed, a Bears fan

  5. It doesn’t sound like Rodgers said anything about Kaepernick not being a good qb, so there shouldn’t be anything to rile him up over. Rodgers’ comments were more about complimenting Smith vs. putting down Kaepernick. If Kaepernick is that thin-skinned that he’d find something insulting there, he’s in for a rough career.

  6. Disagree about Rodgers becoming great because he sat on the bench while Favre lost games for three years.

    Favre went out of his way to not tutor Rodgers, if I recall correctly. He may have learned a few things by watching Brett, when he wasn’t throwing interceptions, but Rodgers’ greatness comes from his own attributes and work ethnic and not because of Favre.

  7. As a Viking fan, I would welcome him to play in Minnesota anytime. Imagine how good AP would be with a QB that can actually burn a team when playing 9 men in the box and complete mid to long range passes on a more consistent basis.

    Call the Niners NOW and make this happen as soon as possible when 2013 starts.

  8. Man, what a whiner Rodgers is. This reminds me of when he whined about what a rewarding season this has been for him and whined about how he hoped Urlacher would play because he enjoys playing against tough competition.

  9. I’ll miss Alex as a 9er, but he does need to go. He deserves better than he is getting.

    Also, Alex was turning the corner as a QB before JH got to SF. It’s just that nobody noticed. He is a solid, competent QB that, while not “Elite”, would be an upgrade for at least 10 teams. I’d hate to see him go to AZ, but Fitz deserves a QB.

  10. Smith would be a good fit in Kansas City. The Chiefs could use an efficient, game manager type like him, and he’d make more sense than throwing a high first round pick at Geno Smith or Matt Barkley.

  11. He will be a Jet. Good defense, good running game ( lately), and a team looking for a quarterback that doesn’t turn the ball over. Perfect fit. Except Sparano has to leave NY for Alex to have a chance

  12. Oh yea… How dare the 49rs not settle for a “game manager”?? They’re so dumb for looking for a starting QB who can make big game changing plays… Shame on them!!

  13. I am going to remember this thread when Alex is traded and ends up being at the very best, average.

    People fail to understand Smith is a product of Harbaugh and his system — he didn’t just become a good QB by coincidence.

    Smith is a hard worker, perfect teammate, smart as a whip — but he will always be average on the field.

    His only hope for success is a run-heavy team with a HC/OC that truly understands QBs and how to run an offense.

    Otherwise his next stop will be the same role — keeping the spot warm for a team’s next franchise QB.

  14. I totally agree! Alex Smith was ready to come back quickly from his concussion, and was replaced by Kaepernick permanently by Harbaugh because Kaep had the “hot hand”? That’s total BS. If Harbaugh is gonna makes the change, have the kahunas to own it! He just wants Kaep! You can’t say when Smith is winning and then is out a week for a concussion that all of a sudden Kaep has the hot hand! I hope he and Tebow find new jobs next year where they can come back and kick their teams butts!

  15. It’s hard to judge a quarterback when he’s not been provided the consistency that is needed to succeed in this league.

    Look at some of the top quarterbacks. Eli Manning has had Kevin Gilbride since being drafted, Drew Brees has had Sean Payton, Aaron Rodgers had Mike McCarthy and Joe Philbin for a long time, Peyton Manning had Tom Moore from the beginning and lastly Tom Brady has had Bill Belichick since being drafted.

    Alex Smith might never throw for 4,000 yards or throw 40 touchdowns but he doesn’t turn the ball over and he makes good decisions. He would thrive with consistency and a coach that has his back. I could see him landing with the Jaguars, Bears, or possibly the Jets.

  16. The 49’ers are playing at a different level this year and also giving the Quarterback more time. That’s one reason Smith was playing better, he wasn’t always cleaning turf off his facemask.

  17. Rodgers and Smith are both class-acts.

    Seeing how Alex Smith was dealt with is still a tough pill to swallow. Obviously, it must pale in comparison to how Smith must feel, but I found myself admiring the guy more every time he overcame each obstacle. I thought he was long gone the offseason before Jim Harbaugh arrived, but Harbaugh went out of his way to convince him to re-sign. When he did, Smith said that he had unfinished business with the team.

    I respect the hell out of Harbaugh as a football coach, but making the swap for Kaepernick when he did was cold-blooded. He pulled the rug right out from under Smith during the highest point of his career.

  18. supermariojosh says: Dec 19, 2012 10:37 AM

    Man, what a whiner Rodgers is. This reminds me of when he whined about what a rewarding season this has been for him and whined about how he hoped Urlacher would play because he enjoys playing against tough competition.
    By the way that was sarcasm in case anybody missed it…

  19. mikeinsanfran says:
    Dec 19, 2012 11:11 AM
    If you can get a 2nd round pick for Tebow…. What’s Alex’s value?


    On what planet did Tebow go for a 2nd?

  20. The Niners should be fined for cruel and unusual punishment by Lord Roger if they trade him to Minnesota. Haven’t they put the guy through enough already?

  21. If you love 15 yard dinks and dunks and poor accuracy beyond a 20 yard pass, Alex Smith is your man. Captain Overcompensation (Harbaugh) went out of his way to court Manning so he was looking for an excuse to move on.

  22. Maybe Alex can go to the Jets. He would be a MAJOR step up. Of course he would have no running backs, offensive line or wide receivers just a tight end and an abrasive coach 🙂

  23. Elite? If Flacco isn’t elite then Alex Smith is definitely not elite. Smith has to be the luckiest guy in the league to have survived in the NFL for so long with the 49ers. If he was with any other team, he would have been cut or traded long ago during the first few years when he was just awful. Granted the organization and line was a mess, but Smith was not worthy of the first pick in the draft let alone the first round.

  24. barroomhero80 says:Dec 19, 2012 10:47 AM

    Nobody asked
    joetoronto says:Dec 19, 2012 11:41 AM

    She won’t stop talking.
    ummmm……yes they did in his weekly radio show. Kind of hard to have a radio show and not talk.

  25. I would not consider Smith an elite QB. I think that Harbaugh got the most out of him. More than any other coach would get. Smith thrived in SF under Harbaugh. I think it would be much different under another coaching staff. Smith just isn’t that good

  26. I remember a guy who came into a league called the USFL on a team called the LA Express, got a big contract, and kind of stunk it up a little. Then he went to the NFL and was looking like a bust when he spent a couple years with the Buccaneers, and then, when everyone said what a bust he was and how he shouldn’t work in the league, he got a chance to finally show his stuff when Joe Montana went down with injury. Now, Steve Young is in the HoF and is regarded as one of the best ever.
    Not saying Alex will ever be a HoF’er, but when this kid finally got the chance to play for a decent team with decent coaches, he was two fumbles (not his) away from the super bowl, and this year was looking even better.
    Not sure why the Alex hate, especially with his play the last two seasons, but I really do hope he goes to Minnesota. I think he would go great there and be able to continue improving and pick up where he left off and give that team the stability it needs.
    Alex may not be loud and flashy, but the guy is good and got the shaft with the 9ers this year.

  27. If/when Alex goes to another team, it’ll take him at least a year to figure out and get comfortable in a new offensive system. He showed that in SF and also at Utah, according to his former college coach Urban Meyer. Fans will have to be patient, because Alex has good talent, but it takes awhile for it to emerge.

  28. Jim Harbaugh is the one person who has publically suggested that Alex Smith is an elite, pro bowl caliber quarterback. His teammates have similarly talked him up, even after seeing how good Kaepernick is. Alex will find a better chance of _starting_ with another team, but he’s quite unlikely to find more _appreciation_ than he’s gotten since the beginning of last season in San Francisco.

    …Unless he somehow duplicates his recent success with a team that will likely have a worse defense and worse running game, not to mention worse coaches. Who here would bet money on that happening?

  29. hopefully we can trade him for draft picks or pick up an offensive player for him. I liked Alex but never took risks. kap makes plays and doesn’t get flustered in the pocket like smith does.

  30. norcaldeportes says:
    Dec 19, 2012 1:43 PM
    CK will flame out in the 1st game of the postseason. He may have big play potential, but he certainly has big mistake potential too.


    Funny since there has been NO indication that Kaep will wilt under postseason pressure.

    Dude has beaten Brees and Brady on the road within his first 5 stars. I’ve never seen him look flustered, not once, even in the brightest spotlights.

    Translation: that’s a fine opinion, but there is zero evidence to support it.

  31. While Smith has had a horrendous road to finally get to where he could be considered a good QB, I’m not sure he should be termed elite. The fact that a 2nd year guy can direct the offense as well or better says alot. I feel for Smith, I really do. He’s a class act and has taken the team to great heights the past couple of years, and lost his job in a patently “unfair” way, and I wish it didn’t transpire the way it did, but I do feel the ceiling is higher with Kaep, while Alex had probably already reached his. I’d be happy to see him get a fair chance to start for someone else and achieve more success before the end of his career.

  32. Emerging to becoming an “elite” QB? Laying it on a bit thick there, aen’t you.

    Harbaugh was still hiding him more than not most weeks. When he was benched, I don’t think Smith had 2000 yards yet, that’s not “elite”

  33. Alex is a fine human being. An elite QB he is not. As heartless as this sounds, I don’t ever want to see AS on the field again in a 9ers uniform. Tolzien has a higher ceiling and a better arm. Just the facts.

  34. Smith is a competent quarterback but has a much lower ceiling then Kaep. Similar situation to when Brady replaced Bledsoe and we all know how that worked out. If he even comes remotely close to that kind of career productivity then Harbaugh will look like a genius.

  35. For all of you who want Alex to leave, you’d better think long and hard about that one.
    If Colin was to get injured you’d better hope that you have a “Game Manager” who has won 20 of his last 26 starts and not Scott Tolzien.
    The 9ers have enough cap room to keep Alex and they should. It gives them insurance for Colin and they’re not spending a ton of money on the QB position next year (less than 10m total for all 3 QBs). Alex is still young and they don’t really need a ton of draft picks for 2013 (they have 11 already). So it would be wise IMO to keep the QBs on the roster and put attention elsewhere for the 2013 season.

  36. Smith had been labelled a bust when Harbaugh arrived so in actual fact he owes Harbaugh for whatever career he enjoys going forward.

  37. You don’t lose your job due to injury. That karma is going to come back to bite the Niners. I can’t wait to see when Kaepernick is going to have to make a play during the playoffs.

  38. Lord please! If the Mayans don’t take me at 6:11 this morning, let Alex Smith come to Jacksonville. We’ll take a game manager who can dish around to some decent receivers and a huge run game. Then we can take a massive offensive lineman in the draft, and get some defensive players in free agency, and be respectable!

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