Aaron Rodgers: Justin Smith "Makes It Go" for 49ers Defense

ATLANTA GA - JANUARY 15: Aaron Rodgers #12 and Andrew Quarless #81 of the Green Bay Packers celebrate after Rodgers scored a 7-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons during their 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Georgia Dome on January 15 2011 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

For the upcoming game between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers, I decided to head over to Packers.com to see what the opponents had to say this week. They have clips from DB Jarrett Bush, WR Greg Jennings, RB Alex Green and LB Nick Perry, but the one I found most interesting was the discussion with the team's quarterback.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers fielded questions from the local media at his locker this week. The topic of discussion: the visiting San Francisco 49ers.

Rodgers handled all the questions pretty well, even when he was asked about coming out of the NCAA with Alex Smith. His more intriguing dialogue came when talking about the 49ers defense. He acknowledged the talent level and seems to have a profound respect for this unit.

He also came off as knowledgeable and well-prepared -- no surprise there.

I went ahead and transcribed the interview. So, if you're curious about what Rodgers had to say about the 49ers defense, continue after the jump for his comments, followed by an open discussion.

Opening statement on 49ers defense:

They are a great defense, a lot of talent, a lot of Pro Bowl players, a lot of guys that could be Pro Bowl players. You know Justin Smith is kind of the guy that makes it go at times. He's a blue-collar guy, doesn't always get the stats, but everyone knows how important he is to that team. He is one of the very best players in the NFL, regardless of position. You surround him with a lot of experience, some youth that's playing well; the guys on the backend are playing well also.

On the turnover margin:

The turnover ratio is often the deciding factor. We've looked at a lot of research and obviously if you look at the turnover ratio in general, I think it's about 80% win-loss. But as far as opening games go over the last few years, it's been closer to 90%. We got to take care of the football; they're trying to take it away. They do a good job of not giving it away and the team that takes care of the football better is probably going to win.

Further comments on the defense:

It's going to be a fast game. This is a defense, that as opposed to some of the teams we played in the preseason, they really close fast. You got [Dashon] Goldson and [Donte] Whitner in there. As a quarterback who likes to move around, you know, that's definitely on my mind...when I have to run, I have to make sure I know how fast those guys are coming down. Because those guys really come after you quickly, and you add in Aldon Smith coming around the backside with the havoc he creates as a pass rusher - just got to take care of the football.

On offensive strategy to combat defense:

You know, it's my role on this team to get us in good situations, to make plays that are there, to make the most of the opportunities because there's not going to be a ton of opportunities out there against these guys. You're going to have to be patient, realize they're going to make a lot of plays, but when the opportunities do come up, you got to make the proper throw.

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