Just a "game manager"? For the second straight week, an upcoming 49ers opponent has praised Alex Smith for the very thing for which he was derided last year - his care of the football. Asked about the fact that the 49ers haven't committed a turnover in six straight regular season games, Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz cited Smith's smarts.
"Gotta have a really smart quarterback to do it, and Alex Smith is a smart quarterback," Schwartz said.
Added Schwartz: "Turnovers are a big, big part of the NFL. Last week, we were minus-three in turnovers and we came out with a win. That's incredibly hard to do. You can't make a living being minus in the turnover category. I don't think it's any coincidence that the 49ers went 13-3 last year and also led the NFL in turnover margin. I mean, those two go hand in hand." (Schwartz's quarterback, Matthew Stafford, threw three interceptions in Detroit's win over the Rams Sunday).
A week ago, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers cited Smith's five interceptions from last year, and he said that the term "game manager" was "condescending" toward Smith.
For the record, Schwartz was just as resistant to "handshake" questions as Jim Harbaugh has been. "We've moved on," he said. "It was last year, and I think I've commented enough."
-- Matt Barrows