Za’Darius Smith doesn’t need any more motivation, but people keep giving him reasons to get even better.
A recent article over at CBS Sports ranked the pass-rushing duos of all 32 NFL teams, putting Smith and his outside linebacker co-star, Preston Smith, at No. 12. The appropriately named Smith Bros. of the Green Bay Packers took expectation to that disrespect, considering they combined for a franchise-record 25.5 sacks in the 2019 regular season and another four in the playoffs.
“I still think we’re underrated,” Za’Darius said, according to Packers.com.
“It definitely added fuel to the fire,” Preston added.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 10, 2020
The Packers duo didn’t even place in the top half of their own division, coming in behind the Minnesota Vikings (Danielle Hunter and Yannick Ngakoue) and the Chicago Bears (Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn), despite both Za’Darius and Preston being tabbed as top-65 players in the league for the upcoming season according to NFL Network.
“We’ve still got that same mindset and that same hunger to go out there and be the best duo as possible,” Za’Darius said.
2019 was just their first season together, but Za’Darius and Preston worked in tandem like a pair of seasoned veterans. This year, they’ll add in another piece to the puzzle, a first-round pick from two drafts ago, Rashan Gray. However, Za’Darius thinks Gray might need to change his last name if he wants to become a member of the group.
“I think as a trio, that’s coming,” Za’Darius said. “R.G. has been doing a lot of great things. He’s explosive, man, and coming on. And I really think it could be a trio. We might have to change his last name.”
"He might have to change his last name."
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 11, 2020