Packers OLB coach: Smith duo’s value goes beyond sack numbers

Za’Darius and Preston Smith came at a high price in free agency, but their first season with the Packers proved they were worth it: the first duo in NFL history to both register 12-plus sacks in their first season as teammates.

Their outside linebackers coach Mike Smith was asked Friday about the challenge of making sure Za’Darius and Preston can maintain their numbers from a year ago, and Coach says sack totals don’t even tell the full story with them.

“You have to look how they’re affecting the quarterback,” Smith said. “When they’re in the game, are they affecting the quarterback with the pressures? Because sacks are important. Don’t get me wrong. People think I don’t care about sacks. They just can’t believe that that’s the only way to be successful, because you’re going to disappoint a room. When you look at the total number of pressures, and his snaps, and you see the pressure percentage, Z led the NFL. Preston wasn’t far behind–top 10. That tells you you’re affecting the quarterback.”

Last season, Za’Darius led the league with 93 total pressures and 37 QB hits.