All aboard the D-Train, year two with Smith Bros
Za’Darius and Preston feel underrated heading into 2020 opener
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Za’Darius Smith ranked 6th in the NFL in 2019 with a career-high 13.5 sacks. Preston Smith (no relation) ranked 8th with a career-high 12 sacks. Yet in a preseason listing of the top ten pass rushing duos entering the 2020 season, published by CBS Sports, the Smiths didn’t crack the top ten. And they noticed.
“I still think we are underrated,” said Za’Darius. “P, did they come with something, the best duos?” “Yeah, we weren’t even mention in the top ten” answered Preston. “Yeah, we weren’t even mentioned on that list,” Z continued. “So we still have got that same mindset and that same hunger to go out there and be the best duo possible.”
But this year, the Smith Brothers duo might need to make room for one more. 2019 first round draft pick Rashan Gary impressed both P and Z in training camp, particularly when the 2nd year man took 1st team reps while Za’Darius rehabbed what he called a minor injury, “it wasn’t nothing serious.” But he was serious about what he saw from Gary. “Man, I can tell you this, he is explosive, and coming on. I really think it could be a trio; we might have to change his last name.”
The Smith Brothers 2nd season as Packers begin Sunday at US Bank Stadium, where the two combined for 4 sacks and wreaked havoc on the Vikings in the Packers' NFC North clinching win last December. The two enjoying silencing the Minnesota faithful with their playmaking, and celebrating. This Sunday, there won’t be any fans to feed off of.
“We’ve got to bring our own juice. I feel like making plays, still doing the D-Train, individuals making their plays and doing their own celebrations…We are just going to continue to do what we do as a team,” said Za’Darius Thursday. And knowing that the fans are watching from the TV screens, to have that energy we know that our fans are still there."
“We are going to continue to feed off each other; because I see Z make a play, I’m going to be just as hyped as he is,” added Preston. “Like the secondary, they are just as hyped when they see us get sacks, doing our dance or celebrate. Guys feed off each other so we’ve just got to bring that good, contagious energy and make sure we come out there with the juice, and that guys are feeding off each other on both sides of the ball. And we go out there and execute, and we make plays, and we turn it up for ourselves.”
On the injury front Thursday, it was good news for Green Bay as offensive lineman Billy Turner (slated to start at right tackle if healthy) was back at practice in pads, though still limited by a right knee injury. Inside linebacker Oren Burks was back to being a full participant in practice. Only OLB Randy Ramsey missed the workout altogether.
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