49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

September 26, 2012
Rex Ryan lavishes praise on Aaron Rodgers, er, Alex Smith


To say that Jets coach Rex Ryan was a little more personable today than 49ers counterpart Jim Harbaugh would be like saying the Atlantic Ocean is more vast than Lake Erie. During a conference call with Bay Area reporters, Ryan shared a funny -- and embarrassing -- story about meeting quarterback Alex Smith at an awards ceremony earlier this year.

The embarrassing part is that he thought Smith was Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers during their 30-second chat. When he realized the error, "I felt so bad," Ryan said. "And the next day I saw Alex at a different function, and I apologized to him, and we laughed about that."

Ryan also joined the chorus of NFL observers who said that Smith was far better than his reputation as a game manager. In fact, he lavished praise on many of the 49ers' offensive weapons, beginning with Vernon Davis, who leads the 49ers with four touchdown catches.

"The No. 1 tight end in football, in my opinion," Ryan said. " You've got that (Rob) Gronkowski kid. But this guy (Davis) is a 4.3 speed guy."

Ryan also said Anthony Davis, who struggled in pass protection his first two seasons with the 49ers, has jumped out this year. "In my opinion, he's one of the premiere right tackles in the game," Ryan said.

On Smith, Ryan said, "It's funny. I guess the national of Alex Smith -- they think, 'Well, he's a game manager. ... But he's much more than that. He's more talented than I think maybe the national perspective that he gets credit for."

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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