Packers shutting down Za'Darius Smith 'for a while'

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The Green Bay Packers will place Pro Bowl edge rusher Za'Darius Smith on injured reserve with a back injury that he's dealt with since the preseason, according to Jason Wilde of The Athletic.

"We're going to have to shut him down for a while," head coach Matt LaFleur said Friday, per ESPN's Rob Demovsky. "Do you keep him in a limited (capacity) or do you shut him down for a while and try to get him up to the snap count we'd like him to be (at)?"

Smith played only 18 (or 29%) of the defensive snaps in Week 1, a far cry from his normal work rate. The 29-year-old posted 26 sacks over his first two seasons in Green Bay, emerging as one of the top pass-rushers in the NFL after beginning his career in a complementary role with the Baltimore Ravens.

Smith endured a somewhat turbulent offseason in Green Bay. At one point, he hinted at discontent with his contract. The Packers later omitted him from their list of captains for the first time since he signed with the club in 2019.

The Packers are expected to feature Preston Smith and Rashan Gary as their primary edge rushers until their top sack artist returns.

Packers shutting down Za'Darius Smith 'for a while'
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