Za’Darius Smith had been hinting at a return for weeks now. However, nothing had been officially announced or reported. This morning Ian Rapoport reported that he has been “fully cleared” and is expected back at practice this week. Not only that, but the team hopes to have him back on the field for their divisional playoff game.
What Za’Darius’ Return Means
The Packers pass rush without Za’Darius Smith has still been very productive. Rashan Gary and Preston Smith have put up elite sack numbers as well as pressures. However, outside of the two stars the EDGE rushers haven’t produced as much. Tipa Galeai and Jonathan Garvin are still young and trying to find a real presence. Having Za’Darius Smith gives the possibility of lining him up inside next to Kenny Clark like the team has done in the past. That paired with Preston and Rashan on the outside is an offensive line’s nightmare.
Even is Za’Darius isn’t back 100 percent, just being on the field alone means a lot. Smith was the best pass rusher the Packers had the last two seasons. Smith was the undisputed leader of the defense and having him back will surely give some juice to a hungry defense. Za’Darius Smith is looking to make up for missing the regular season with a dominant run to the Super Bowl.