Alex Smith defends Brock Purdy on the set of ESPN's "Postseason NFL Countdown" ahead of Sunday's NFC Championship game. Alex Smith defends Brock Purdy on the set of ESPN’s “Postseason NFL Countdown” ahead of Sunday’s NFC Championship game.

Earlier this season, we saw Alex Smith fire back at Tom Brady, mocking the Hall of Famer’s claims about the state of the NFL and how it relates to mediocrity. On Sunday, Smith offered another strong rebuke of a former NFL quarterback’s characterization of Brock Purdy. And while Smith didn’t directly refer to Cam Newton’s “game manager” comments and how they relate to the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, it’s pretty clear what narrative he was taking aim at.

In what was a bit of an airing of grievances ahead of Sunday’s 49ers-Detroit Lions NFC Championship, Smith was fired up about the “game manager” label and the subsequent narrative that comes with it.

“Listen, Sam; I gotta be honest with you, (I’ve been) frustrated all week with all this talk that Brock Purdy’s just a guy,” the former 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Washington Commanders quarterback told Samantha Ponder. “That he’s just average and, certainly, just a product of this great situation. And it couldn’t be further from the truth. Listen, last week (a 24-21 win over the Green Bay Packers); they played in a rainy game — he struggled with his grip; I don’t know a quarterback in the NFL that likes to play in the rain. Let’s leave it at that and move on.”

Smith then went to the film to destroy narratives that Purdy is “conservative with the football,” “not aggressive,” and “not a difference maker.” Smith used an example of Purdy stepping up in the pocket on third-and-1o in a 21-17 game in the fourth quarter.

Smith insisted that a game manager would’ve checked down the football in the flat, especially with a free defensive end bearing down on him. Instead, Purdy, according to Smith, “had the guts” to fit in a football around three defensive backs and find Juaun Jennings for a bigtime throw. Smith didn’t mention that the 49ers would punt three plays later, but that’s neither here nor there.

“I can tell you, as the unofficial president of the game manager’s club, he’s not allowed in,” said Smith. “You don’t get to make plays. Let’s take a look at the next one. He’s just a system QB, right? He doesn’t elevate any of the players around him; I heard this all year. Let’s take a look at the film.”

The film showed Purdy rolling out during a game against the Commanders in Week 17. He pointed to his spot and threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Aiyuk.

“That kid is the best player on the playground right there, right?” Smith said. “But he’s just running a system? What system is that?”

And then Smith took up the narrative that Purdy was just a “dink and dunk guy.”

“Again, all these narratives that we’ve heard, they couldn’t be more wrong,” the now-retired quarterback added. “I think it’s lazy analysis, and again, it doesn’t make sense when a guy who’s as young as he is, he’s 6-foot-nothing, all his measurables don’t jump off the screen, and it doesn’t make sense to people. So, they revert to these narratives that, again, couldn’t be more untrue.”

The ‘game manager’ label may continue to dog Purdy, but Smith’s impassioned defense will fuel the fire of this ongoing debate. He has a chance to put those narratives to bed in the coming weeks, especially in the NFC Championship Game.

[Awful Announcing on Twitter/X]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.