What do we make of Cam Newton not being named the starter already?
The Packers outside linebackers coach ranted about pass-rusher evaluations
In recent years, the Green Bay Packers had trouble sacking the opposing quarterback. They solved said issues last offseason by signing linebackers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith from the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Football Team, respectively. Those two additions paid dividends, as they tallied a total of 25.5 sacks and helped bring the Packers to the NFC Championship Game.
With training camp underway, Packers outside linebacker coach Mike Smith went on a bit of a rant when it comes to evaluating pass-rushers. During Friday’s conference call, Smith said assessing pass-rushers off sacks is “one of the stupidest things” he’s seen. He prefers to look at a player’s pressure rate and consistency, instead.
You can listen to Smith’s full rant in a tweet provided by Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press Gazette.
You think Smith is passionate about pass-rush evaluations? We’d venture to say, yes. Yes he is.
It’s all about pressures for Smith
Last season, Za’Darius Smith was the most under-appreciated linebacker in the league. In fact, Pro Football Focus said that Smith had the highest pass-rush productivity in the NFL last season, as he recorded a league-high 93 pressures on 572 pass-rushing snaps. That’s all while posting 13.5 sacks, which ranked the sixth-most in the league. Preston Smith, on the other hand, logged 55 pressures through 16 games in 2019.
The Packers are certainly hoping that both Smiths can replicate that same success in 2020. In fact, it could only get better if 2019 first-round selection Rashan Gary can live up to his potential when coming out of Michigan.
So there you have it. If you ever happen to get the chance to meet Mike Smith, don’t bring up sack numbers to him, because you will instantly be subject to a rant.