The Green Bay Packers are hoping to get their groove back on defense this year. After the first half of the 2022 season didn’t go as planned, the defense became a strong point for much of the second half of the season. Over the last five games of the season, the Green Bay Packers defense allowed an average of 17.6 points per game. Preston Smith, one of the key veterans on the defensive side of the ball, had another strong season with 8.5 sacks and 59 total tackles. Going into the 2023 season, Smith realized something and talked to reporters about it.
Preston Smith Realizes One Major Thing About Him Going Into The 2023 Season
Having smashed the even-year curse, Preston Smith is now the oldest player on the Green Bay Packers’ defense. He will play a key role as a leader and pass rusher in 2023. He was asked about that exact situation:
“I think about it all the time,” the 30-year-old Smith said following Packers OTAs on Tuesday. “Like, dang. I wake up and I’m like, ‘I’m really old.’ I remember being that young kid walking in and you hear somebody say, ‘I’m on Year 8 or 9,’ you be like, ‘Damn, you’re old.’
“Now, it’s like looking in the mirror. I’m like, ‘Damn, you’re old.’ It’s like looking back on my 22-year-old self, telling me I’m as old as hell in this league. I’m just happy to be here, man, to make it this long and pass many expectations or pass what people may have believed or projected. I’m just happy to be here and embrace Year 9.”
“I’m the oldest person on defense right now and I’m still young,” Smith said. “It’s crazy to say that. I’m the vet on the defense. It’s the first time in my history that I’ve been the vet on defense. It’s a task I’m willing to accept. A lot of younger guys are coming up [that] you want to take under your wing and try to develop in the right way, especially if you know they can help the team.”
Preston Smith will turn 31 in November. He is only one of three players who are 30-plus years old on the Green Bay Packers roster and the only player on defense. With the release of Za’Darius Smith last offseason, being the leader of the outside linebackers is nothing new. However, following the exit of Aaron Rodgers, Marcedes Lewis, Randall Cobb and Adrian Amos this offseason, Smith is an anomaly on a young roster. In fact, the Green Bay Packers are now one of the youngest rosters in the entire NFL.
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