Aaron Rodgers played a little defense for the opponent on Wednesday. Asked to comment on Alex Smith's label as a "game manager," the Packers quarterback said he felt that was a "condescending term" for a quarterback.
"I don't think he's a game manager," Rodgers said. "He's a guy that takes care of the football and makes a lot of plays. To throw that many times and only throw five interceptions, I don't think he gets the respect he deserves."
Smith attempted 445 passes last season and threw five interceptions. Rodgers, meanwhile, had 502 attempts and threw six interceptions. Rodgers also had 48 touchdowns - 45 of them passing, three on the ground -- compared to 18 for Smith.
Rodgers' support of Smith underscores the fraternity among NFL quarterbacks. Drew Brees also heaped praise on Smith this offseason, saying, among other things, "I have a lot of respect for Alex. I can appreciate the road he's travelled to get to where he is."
Smith and Rodgers have been friendly since they both went through the pre-draft process together in 2005. The two hung out in Smith's home town of San Diego during the offseason and they were two of several NFL quarterbacks at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe. (Rodgers finished with the better score).
"We were kind of pitted against each other coming out of college ... and we kind of became pretty good friends," Smith said. "But for me, I'm thinking more about the (Green Bay) defense than him. I get to see him after."
Said Rodgers: "I've been friends with him since we were 21 and I've followed his career. It's been nice to be able to reconnect over the last year or so. I definitely pull for him and I enjoy watching him play."
Rodgers also insisted he had no ill feelings toward the 49ers for passing him over in the 2005 despite some sharp words about the organization in the years since. "I never had any type of revenge or get-back feelings toward them," Rodgers said. "They were my team growing up, they didn't draft me and I've enjoyed my time in Green Bay. I still follow them from afar."
Neither Ted Ginn (ankle) nor Brandon Jacobs (knee) practiced Wednesday, increasing the likelihood that neither would play Sunday in Green Bay. If Ginn is absent, Kyle Williams would take over punt-return duties and Kendall Hunter would handle kickoffs. Without Jacobs, Anthony Dixon would be tapped for short-yardage duty.
-- Matt Barrows