As the 49ers prepare to face the Packers this Sunday, if one thing wasn't clear before, it certainly is now:
Aaron Rodgers does his homework.
Rodgers was recently a guest on 95.7 The Game, a sports radio station in San Francisco. When he was asked about what the perception of the 49ers is to the Packers, his answer was pretty impressive.
He called out all eleven members of the 49ers starting defense by name - literally.
Here's his response:
"[The 49ers are] one of the top teams in the game, no doubt about it. I think you gotta give Coach Harbaugh credit for what he's done with the team. But they got a lot of veterans out there that know how to play the game the right way. Getting to spend a little time with some of those guys at the pro bowl was a lot of fun for me. Getting to spend time with guys like Justin Smith just gives you a greater appreciation for what he does and what their team does.
I've known Patrick Willis for a number of years now, got a lot of respect for him and the way he plays the game, but there's a lot of guys on that team that are playing at a really high level that might not get the credit they always deserve.
I think of a guy like [NoVarro] Bowman, who is one of the top linebackers in the league and he just has the misfortune of playing with one of the most well known and best linebackers in the league in Patrick Willis, but Bowman is an incredible player in his own right.
Aldon Smith had a great season last year. He's coming off his rookie year where he did a lot of great things, and you have Brooks on the other side who's a real talented player in his own right.
It seems like the most important thing to them is the team, and they set aside egos and personal recognition to play their part and that's why they're so successful every year, on defense.
I think Tarell Brown is a guy who's coming of a really great season, he's making his way in this league and getting the respect he deserves. Carlos [Rodgers] is coming off one of his best if not his best in his career, and he's a guy that I've followed his progress, being drafted in the same draft as him, and excited about the way he's playing. Not when you're playing against him, but you gotta give him credit. A guy that can play outside and be effective, and move in the slot and be effective as well. That takes a talented player. Carlos is playing at a high level. Teams around the league know that and understand that, and when you're playing these guys you gotta figure out where he's at.
Dashon [Goldson], I played against him in college when he was at Washington, he's extremely talented player. Donte Whitner, he's a guy that was picked in 06. We played against him when he was a rookie in Buffalo and now he's finding his way in San Fran and he plays great when he's outside matched up on tight end, he plays great when he's high, coming down, he's a big time hitter.
This is a defense where, there's not many holes to find out there. They play really well together, they understand the scheme. I haven't talked about [Ray] McDonald and [Isaac] Sopoaga, but hey, here we go. This is a group of guys that's very formidable on defense."
Even if you don't like Aaron Rodgers, one thing you cannot deny is his absolutely methodical preparation for his opponents.
He may know their names but on Sunday we will find out if he knows how to stop the punishment they have in store for him. 49ers Spin: Aaron Rodgers Names All Eleven Members of 49ers Defense in Interview