Aaron Rodgers is the face of the Packers franchise, but it’s Za’Darius and Preston Smith who have elevated the Packers’ defense this year and made a Super Bowl run possible.
They’ve combined for 25.5 sacks and brought energy and swagger to the defense. Now, in their first year with the team, they have a chance to carve their place in Packers’ history.
“We know what’s at stake,” Preston said. “We’re in the direction we were hoping for and everything we worked for come to light. We’ve got another opportunity and another week to play for something big.”
“I can say man, we are blessed to have this opportunity,” Za’Darius said. “I tell the guys all the time, we’re going to treat this week just like a regular week. You can’t overdo it. You’ve got to just go in like a regular week.”
They know that on Sunday they must put the heat on Jimmy Garoppolo.
“It starts up front,” Za’Darius said. “We are the guys who basically put a lot of pressure on the quarterback.
“You know we’ve just got to go in there and not let him get comfortable and get in rhythm and getting the ball to his guys,” Preston said.
The 49ers are favored by 7.5 points Sunday. Being underdogs fits the Smiths fine. They’ve always been somewhat overlooked until now.
“We don’t focus on the outside noise and listen to what other people say,” Preston said. “We always know what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to go in there. We’ve got to work hard. We’ve got to play our game. We’ve got to play physical and fast. We’ve got to go out there and play together. That’s what’s got us this far.”
The Smiths aren’t actually brothers but they’re often referenced as brothers because of their shared last names and because of the ‘brotherhood’ bond they’ve formed in Green Bay.
When you talk about impact players, those two guys are certainly that.
Remember, you can catch the NFC Championship game this Sunday on FOX39. Kickoff is at 5:40 p.m.