Don’t call 49ers quarterback Alex Smith a "game manager" in front of Aaron Rodgers. He might take offense.

“That term, to me, is a condescending term for quarterbacks,” the Green Bay quarterback and reigning MVP said. “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.”

Rodgers was quick to go to bat for his longtime friend, noting his low interception total last year and performance against the Saints in the playoffs

“To throw that many times and to only throw five interceptions, I don’t think he got the respect that he deserves,” Rodgers said. “Just look at the Saints game; the plays he made down the stretch were incredible.”

Smith and Rodgers will always be linked. However, since becoming the first two quarterbacks selected in the 2005 NFL Draft, they have taken significantly different routes to where they are today.

“[Smith had] a lot more coaching changes and stuff,” Rodgers said. “We both dealt with some adversity.”

For Rodgers, that adversity was sitting on the bench for three years waiting for Brett Favre's time in Green Bay to end.

Through it all, Smith and Rodgers maintained the friendship they formed while they were going through the draft process -- the one that ended with the 49ers selecting Smith instead of Rodgers, from nearby Cal.

“[We were] kind of pitted against each other coming out of college,” Smith said. “It’s funny, just going through that, kind of became pretty good friends, had a lot in common.”

The two players have spent time together in San Diego and were paired with each other in the American Century Championship golf tournament in Tahoe over the summer.

Rodgers has a fan in Smith and also has one in 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. 

“He’d be something to watch if you didn’t have to play against him,” Harbaugh said. “I think that sums it up in a pretty tidy box. I don’t know of anybody that’s ever played the quarterback position at the level he’s playing at now, and has been playing at.”

High praise from Harbaugh that might only leave 49ers fans wondering: What if?

Wednesday injury report:  49ers – RB Brandon Jacobs (knee) and WR Ted Ginn (ankle) did not practice. Their status for the game remains unknown. Packers – RB James Starks (toe) will not play. S Sean Richardson (hamstring) did not practice. TE Tom Crabtree (shoulder), LB Rob Francois (hamstring), CB Davon House (shoulder), LB Jamari Lattimore (ankle) and DT B.J. Raji (ankle) were limited in practice.

Role playing: Several 49ers were assigned new jersey numbers Wednesday in order to play the role of a Green Bay player: A.J. Jenkins (Jordy Nelson), Tramaine Brock (Tramon Williams), Tavares Gooden (D.J. Smith), Garrett Celek (Jermichael Finley), Michael Thomas (Charles Woodson), Nathan Palmer (Greg Jennings), Michael Wilhoite (A.J. Hawk), Cam Johnson (Clay Matthews).

Follow 49ers reporter Kyle Bonagura on Twitter: @CBSSportsNFLSF and @KyleBonagura

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