Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith. (Getty Images)
Not every quarterback controversy in the NFL is a pick-your-self-inflicted poison like the New York Jets face with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. Sometimes, an NFL team is fortunate enough to have two pro-quality quarterbacks, and when that happens, somebody's going to get some hurt feelings and too much undeserved bench time.
Case in point: San Francisco, where Alex Smith has lost his starting QB spot to Colin Kaepernick this season. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Smith were both drafted in 2005, Smith No. 1 and Rodgers No. 24.
"Alex and I are buddies, we both got drafted in 2005 NFL draft, and he's been through a lot," Rodgers said in an interview with NFL Total Access. "I can't imagine to have to go through that many offensive coordinators, and the turnover in coaches has been tough for him."
But as Rodgers noted, as good as Kaepernick has been, Smith deserves a starting spot somewhere:
"He comes in, he's 70 percent completion, he's 100-plus quarterback rating last year, he's like barely over 1 percent interception percentage," Rodgers said. "He's a great quarterback. He just needs to go somewhere he gets appreciated for the skills he has and hopefully he gets a chance next year."
Rodgers, of course, is no stranger to the quarterback-controversy dilemma; he spent the first few years of his career trying to play out from under the shadow of Brett Favre. Rodgers' subsequent success and Favre's slide into punch line have blurred memories of that dispute, but for a couple years, Lambeau Field was an ugly place indeed for Rodgers.
But he eventually made the most of his shot once the way was clear, and when Smith catches on with another team — as he most surely will — he'll have the same shot Rodgers did. Rodgers used the "disrespect" of getting drafted 24th to motivate him through his NFL career; if Smith does the same thing, he could carve a similar swath through the NFL ... and he'll be keeping a close eye on San Francisco.
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