49ers

Forever linked: Rodgers could be in 49ers jersey on Monday

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Forever linked: Rodgers could be in 49ers jersey on Monday

GREEN BAY, Wisc. -- Aaron Rodgers, the kid from Chico who would wear a Joe Montana T-shirt under his pads, is playing Sunday to keep from wearing an Alex Smith jersey next week.

That's the latest twist in the tale of Rodgers and Smith, who are forever linked after being the top two quarterbacks in the 2005 draft.

Smith (Utah) and Rogers (Cal) were together in the green room in New York at the start of the draft. But they did not get much time to socialize that day. The 49ers chose Smith with the No. 1 overall pick. Rodgers had a considerably longer wait, as the Green Bay Packers selected him with the No. 24 overall pick.

On Sunday, the 49ers and the Packers -- Smith and Rodgers -- meet at Lambeau Field. Smith and Rodgers have played in the same game on only one previous occasion.

Smith was pretty good that day, throwing for 227 yards and three touchdowns. Rodgers was exceptional. He passed for 344 yards and two touchdowns in the Packers' 30-24 victory at Lambeau Field in November 2009.

As if Rodgers needs any more incentive to play well, he has a lot riding on this game, TMZ reported Saturday.

Rodgers is friends with the members of the group Boyz II Men. Rodgers asked the group to sing the National Anthem on Sunday. One of the members, Nathan Morris, is a big fan of the 49ers. He proposed a friendly wager to Rodgers.If Green Bay wins, Morris would wear a Rodgers jersey. If the 49ers win, Rodgers must wear an Alex Smith jersey for the remainder of the week.

Rodgers, last year's consensus NFL Most Valuable Player, told the Bay Area media this week on a conference call that he is a fan of Smith's -- but, clearly, not enough of a fan to wear his jersey without losing a bet.

However, Rodgers defended Smith. And he bristled at the widely used term to describe Smith as a "game manager."

"I think that term is a condescending term for quarterbacks," Rodgers 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. I don't think he got the respect he deserves.

"Smith and Rodgers, in effect, competed against each other coming out of college. The 49ers brought in both players for visits before the organization decided on Smith. Coincidentally, current Packers coach Mike McCarthy, the 49ers offensive coordinator at the time, agreed with the 49ers' decision to go with Smith.

Rodgers said this week that there's no lingering bitterness with the organization. And after all these years, Rodgers and Smith consider each other friends.

"It's funny, just going through that, (we) kind of became pretty good friends, had a lot in common," Smith said. "Just kind of been able to keep track and stay connected in the offseason and when we play each other and things like that. This offseason (I) got a chance to play with him up in Tahoe and it was a lot of fun up there. (I) talked to him a few times here and there, a good friend."Said Rodgers, "I've been friends with him since we were 21, and I've followed his career. I definitely pull for him and enjoy watching him play.

"Their styles and responsibilities are quite different. Rodgers is prolific. He threw for 4,643 yards last season with 45 touchdowns. Rodgers destroyed the NFL record for passing efficiency with a rating of 122.5.Even 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh's lofty praise cannot be considered hyperbole."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," Harbaugh said. "Just phenomenal, phenomenal.

"Meanwhile, Smith ranked 19th in the NFL with 3,144 yards passing and threw 17 touchdowns in 16 regular-season games.

But there are two areas in which Smith and Rodgers both excelled during the regular season. Their teams won. The Packers (15-1) and 49ers (13-3) were the top two seeds in the NFC playoffs. And both quarterback were exceptional at taking care of the football.Rodgers tossed just six interceptions in 502 pass attempts."A great way to explain him is he's Drew Brees with great scrambling ability, and actually a little stronger arm," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "And the guy right now is at the top of his game and many people think he's the best quarterback in the NFL.

"The most amazing thing about his season last year was, for how often they threw the ball and how aggressive they were throwing it, he only threw six interceptions, which to me is probably the most amazing stat when you're looking at these guys."Smith's interception rate was slightly better. He threw just five picks in 445 pass attempts. Smith also attempted 68 passes in the two playoff games without an interception.Smith enters Sunday's game with 159 consecutive regular-season pass attempts without an interception. He trails only Steve Young for the team record of 184 attempts without an interception.

Both the 49ers and Packers defenses thrived last year in forcing turnovers. They tied for the NFL lead with 38 takeaways. And that's what might decide Sunday's game.And it might decide Rodgers' wardrobe for the week.

@aaronrodgers12 And get ready to wear that Alex Smith jersey SON!!!! Lol lol Nathan (@MorrisPhD) May 7, 2012

49ers snap count: Hyde's hip injury does not slow him down

49ers snap count: Hyde's hip injury does not slow him down

SANTA CLARA – Running back Carlos Hyde left the game Thursday night in the first quarter with a hip injury. At the time, the 49ers announced he was questionable to return.

But there was nothing questionable about Hyde’s effort, as he was in and out of the lineup in the first half before playing almost all of the second half. Hyde played 61 of the 49ers’ 82 offensive plays (including snaps nullified by penalties) in the team’s 41-39 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium.

“I knew that it was going to be tough coming into this game,” said Hyde, who gained 84 difficult yards and two touchdowns on 25 rushing attempts.

“I didn’t expect anything less from the Rams. They always play us tough, especially in the run game. I knew that it would take the extra effort to get 1 or 2 yards extra to move the chains.”

Afterward Hyde appeared to be fine though he got a lot of attention from the 49ers’ medical staff early in the game. He exited after his third rushing attempt, landing on his left side on back-to-back plays on which he gained 20 and 3 yards.

“I landed weird on my oblique,” Hyde said. “And it got sore on me. But as I kept playing, the better it felt. When I went to the sideline, that’s when I felt it. When I was in the game, I didn’t feel it at all.”

Hyde said the injury was a bruise and not any kind of muscle strain.

Four of Hyde’s teammates, however, did not return after sustaining injuries:

--Fullback Kyle Juszczyk sustained what the club initially described as a neck injury, as he appeared shaken up after back-to-back plays on which he blocked at the goal line for Hyde in the third quarter. He was later diagnosed with a concussion.

--Safety Jaquiski Tartt was injured late in the third quarter after combining for a tackle on Rams receiver Robert Woods 25 yards down the field. His teammate, defensive lineman Earl Mitchell, inadvertently kneed Tartt in the head as he pursued the play. Tartt was immediately taken to the locker room and diagnosed with a concussion.

--Backup linebacker and core special-teams player Brock Coyle was also diagnosed with a concussion in the second half. Coyle, Juszczyk and Tartt are now in the NFL concussion protocol. The 49ers return to action Oct. 1 at the Arizona Cardinals.

--Defensive lineman Tank Carradine had a difficult time walking on his own as he left the stadium with an orthopedic boot on his right foot. Carradine sustained an ankle sprain early in the fourth quarter and did not return to action.

Here is a look at the 49ers’ playing time on offense, defense and special teams:

OFFENSE
(82 plays)
Quarterback – Brian Hoyer 82
Running back – Carlos Hyde 61, Kyle Juszczyk 26, Matt Breida 16, Raheem Mostert 8
Wide receiver – Pierre Garçon 69, Marquise Goodwin 59, Trent Taylor 39, Aldrick Robinson 27, Victor Bolden 2
Tight end – George Kittle 39, Garrett Celek 36, Logan Paulsen 27
Offensive line – Joe Staley 82, Trent Brown 82, Daniel Kilgore 82, Brandon Fusco 82, Laken Tomlinson 82, Garry Gilliam 1

DEFENSE
(67 plays)
Defensive line – DeForest Buckner 61, Arik Armstead 55, Earl Mitchell 50, Solomon Thomas 38, Tank Carradine 29, Aaron Lynch 14, D.J. Jones 13, Elvis Dumervil 10
Linebacker – NaVorro Bowman 67, Ray-Ray Armstrong 66, Eli Harold 26, Brock Coyle 2
Cornerback – Dontae Johnson 65, Rashard Robinson 65, K’Waun Williams 42
Safety – Jimmie Ward 67, Jaquiski Tartt 48, Lorenzo Jerome 19

SPECIAL TEAMS
(34 plays)
Dekoda Watson 28, Elijah Lee 21, Celek 21, Mostert 21, Adrian Colbert 20, Asa Jackson 19, Coyle 18, Harold 18, Jerome 18, Bolden 17, Bradley Pinion 16, Paulsen 16, Johnson 14, Breida 11, Kyle Nelson 9, R.Robinson 9, Robbie Gould 7, Buckner 7, Armstead 7, Mitchell 7, Tartt 7, Ward 7, Zane Beadles 6, Staley 6, Kilgore, 6, Fusco 6, Brown 6, Carradine 6, Gilliam 6, Armstrong 3, A.Robinson 3, Bowman 2, Jones 2, Juszczyk 2, Taylor 1, Thomas 1

DID NOT PLAY
QB C.J. Beathard

INACTIVE
WR Kendrick Bourne
CB Ahkello Witherspoon
DB Eric Reid (knee)
LB Pita Taumoepenu
LB Reuben Foster (ankle)
OL Erik Magnuson
DL Xavier Cooper

The three things you need to know from 49ers' 41-39 loss vs Rams

The three things you need to know from 49ers' 41-39 loss vs Rams

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 41-39 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3 on Thursday night:

1. The offense is alive
It was a rough start for quarterback Brian Hoyer. His interception on the first pass attempt of the game was exactly how the team did not want to see him bounce back from a horrendous offensive showing against Seattle.

But Hoyer rebounded with a more-than respectable performance after his interception led to the Rams' first touchdown -- just 12 seconds into the game. Hoyer completed 23 of 37 for 332 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Still, everything is not running smoothly with the passing game. The receivers do not always seem to be running crisp routes. Hoyer is not putting his passes in great spots. And the receivers have far too many drops.

But with Carlos Hyde running hard – 84 yards and two touchdowns on 25 attempts – and the passing game showing some signs of life, the offense under coach Kyle Shanahan should get better and better.

2. Defensive letdown
The defense is the side of the ball that was supposed to carry the 49ers. And after solid showings in the first two games of the season, the defense failed to hold up its end of the bargain against a vastly improved Rams offense.

Again, the 49ers did not supply much of a pass rush. The run defense was pretty good for most of the game, but Jared Goff picked the 49ers apart because he has time to wait for his talented receiving corps of Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins to get open against the 49ers’ over-stressed secondary.

Third downs have killed the 49ers’ defense. The unit simply cannot get off the field in crucial situations. The Rams were successful on eight of their 12 plays on third downs. The defense has to find a level of consistency. And they are clearly missing rookie linebacker Reuben Foster, who has not played since the opening 11 plays of the opener due to a high ankle sprain.

3. Time to recover
The 49ers have a long week, and that comes at a good time with fullback Kyle Juszczyk, safety Jaquiski Tartt and linebacker Brock Coyle in the NFL’s concussion protocol after sustaining injuries in the second half.

Juszczyk appeared to be shaken up when he went head-to-head with Rams safety Mark Barron as a lead blocker on a third-down run play for Hyde. He was slow to get up but remained on the field for the fourth-down play. He made a block on Hyde’s 1-yard touchdown run, and again was slow to get up. He did not return to action due to a concussion.

Defensive lineman Tank Carradine sustained a right ankle sprain early in the fourth quarter and did not return. He left the locker room walking slowly while wearing an orthopedic boot after the game.

The 49ers return to action Oct. 1 at the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers must get some of their players back in order to have any hope of avoiding an 0-4 start, including getting swept in their first round through the NFC West.