Matt LaFleur shares what Za'Darius Smith brought to the Green Bay Packers

Nick Roushover 1 year


Aritcle written by:Nick RoushNick Roush


[caption id="attachment_287328" align="alignnone" width="1000"] USATSI[/caption] A year after Za'Darius Smith signed with Green Bay, it's plain to see both parties benefitted from the move.. The former Kentucky edge rusher spent the first four years of his professional football with the Baltimore Ravens. After recording career-highs in tackles (45) and sacks (8.5), Big Z tested the free agency market. There he found the right fit in Green Bay with a four-year $66 million contract. Smith was worth every penny in 2019. In his first season in green and gold, Za'Darius Smith had 55 tackles and 13.5 sacks, the sixth-most in the NFL. Sharing a defensive line with Preston Smith, the Packers' pass rush improved dramatically in 2019. They had just a little bit of fun at the expense of opposing quarterbacks. The stats pop off the page, but that's not what made Za'Darius such a valuable addition. "He was obviously extremely disruptive, very productive," head coach Matt LaFleur told KSR at the NFL Combine, "but I also think it's just the leadership qualities that he brought to our defense and to our football team. He did a great job of getting our guys together. I felt like we were a very well-connected team and I think those are the teams that ultimately have the most success. He was a big part of that." With Smith taking charge in the locker room, the Packers earned a two-seed in the playoffs and advanced to the NFC Championship Game before ultimately falling at San Francisco. Za'Darius Smith's future is bright in Green Bay. Back home in Greenville, Alabama, he's become kind of a big deal.
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Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is a Za’Darius Smith fan.

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