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Za’Darius Smith Needs to Clean Up His Act

I’ve been unable to find any critiques of Za’Darius Smith’s game against the Cowboys. This needs to be discussed. Below are some of Z’s lowlights – yes, LOWlights.

3rd Quarter, 7:54 remaining – Za’Darius Smith is called for illegal use of hands. He put both hands under Cameron Fleming’s face mask and thrust his head backwards for several seconds – an infraction that couldn’t be missed. The penalty was declined, but only because the play resulted in a 20-yard completion.

4th quarter, 14:03 remaining – Prescott’s pass from the GB 10-yard line is an apparent turnover, when Jaire Alexander tipped the pass and Will Redmond intercepted it in the end zone. That should have been the ball game – but the crucial turnover was nullified by another illegal use of hands call against Z. By the way, after the play Kenny Clark added insult to injury by being called for unsportsmanlike conduct. Both penalties were marked off, putting the ball near the 2-yard line. Elliott then took it in on the next play, making the score 31 to 16 – and preserving precious time.

4th quarter, 8:07 remaining – Immediately after Mason Crosby’s field goal seemingly put the game out of reach, Prescott completed a 7-yard pass, but Z was called for unnecessary roughness – after the play was over. At a time when the Packers were trying to run time off the clock, after one puny play Dallas was set up near midfield. The next play was a 53-yard touchdown completion to Amari Cooper. The entire drive, aided by the untimely penalty, consumed 14 seconds, and it’s 34-24. By the way, on this play Z was put on his back by a clean but violent block, which prompted his retaliation.

Za'Darius Smith sacks Dak Prescott

Oct 6, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) sacks Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Za’Darius was actually a bit lucky on Sunday. With 6:03 left in the 3rd quarter, the Cowboys were faced with a 3rd and 18 to go. A good pass rush, with Fackrell and Z hitting Prescott as he was in the throwing motion, caused an incompletion, so the Boys kicked a field goal on the next play. While Fackrell’s hit was clean, Z chose to head-tackle the QB. He brushed across Prescott’s face guard, grabbed the top of his helmet and put the quarterback on the ground. This very easily could have been called a blow to the head or a roughing penalty, though Z did let up just a bit rather than slamming the QB to the ground. This favorable non-call on Smith probably prevented the Cowboys from scoring a touchdown instead of a field goal.

You might also have seen that when Kevin King recorded his interception, with 10:29 left in the 4th quarter, Za’Darius drew the attention of almost everyone in the stadium by getting right into Prescott’s face and taunting him. That’s bush league, and it certainly could have – should have – resulted in another 15-yard walk-off against Green Bay.

Fortunately, many of the Cowboys were as unhinged as was Smith. With 19 seconds left in the third quarter, Dallas had a first and ten on its own 30. The magnificent Amari Cooper made a beautiful catch along the sideline, which was initially ruled incomplete. Replays, however, clearly showed he got both feet down in bounds, but it required Cowboys coach Jason Garrett using his final challenge to get the call right.

Not only did Garrett slam down the red flag in the vicinity of the official’s feet, but referee Ron Torbert confirmed afterwards that the penalty “was for abusive language toward an official.” Instead of a devastating 27 yard gain, the play netted only 12 yards for the desperate Cowboys.

Postgame, Garrett stated the obvious: “Obviously, I didn’t handle that situation as well as I should have.” Never to be outdone, Cowboys’ owner and GM Jerry Jones added a little touch of Dallas class. “Oh, I hope the little darling didn’t hear something he hadn’t heard before. We should all stop the wheel over that if he got [a penalty for] abusive language.” Whatever that means.

For the game, the Packers were penalized nine times for 78 yards; the Cowboys were called 11 times for a loss of 124 yards.

Coach LaFleur mentioned several times following the game that his team has a lot of things to clean up. I hope he was referring in large part to Smith allowing his lack of self-control to jeopardize a hard-earned 28-point lead. As noted above, a good portion of the Dallas comeback can be ascribed to Smith using his body but not his head.

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. Matt October 7, 2019

    Nah I’ll take mean guy that sets the tone of the D over the guy you want.

    1. tigerwoodsballs October 8, 2019

      The writer is absolutely correct. You youngsters have no clue. Just because it didn’t cost us a W this week doesn’t mean it won’t if it’s not addressed. Case in point: Mike Daniels 2014 NFC Championship game. Plenty of other examples. Detroit last year in Detroit.

      1. PF4L October 10, 2019

        I’m not so sure i’m blaming the NFCCG on Daniels. Take your pick of the buffet of other mistakes that cost the Packers that game in the last 5 1/2 minutes.

    2. R.Duke October 12, 2019

      Perfect technique to move a guard or center away from your knees, they cannot lean on Za. You have to have bad asses. Perry or MAtthews would settle for the stand off. Gary’s call was a complete joke when he touched Zak’s helmet while engaged and the QB on the scramble as a runner.

  2. Evan Turner October 7, 2019

    Really finding something to complain about here huh?

  3. Coach JV October 7, 2019

    Is your dress above the knee or below, Rob? I bet you need a “Safe room” and a hug when you get yelled at too, don’t ya?

    Nah… I’ll take a mean ass Z with attitude to lead this group.

  4. Tony October 7, 2019

    I agree with most of what you said about the penalties, but complaining about bis taunting? Get out of here with that stuff. The Smith bros bring an attitude to this team thats been lacking, a mean, hard nosed tough attitude that this team needs. GB never gets these kind of guys and now that they finally have some youre complaining about it? Come on now.

  5. Thomas E Lind October 8, 2019

    We’ve needed someone like Z ever since Wayne Simmons.

    1. R.Duke October 12, 2019

      Thank you. One of Wolf’s biggest mistakes not signing Wayne and the second SB team was ass-kicked all over the field by Denver’s running game. It’s on you Ron, along with low-balling Doug Evans.

  6. SCPKRFAN October 8, 2019

    Well he was not as bad as the dirty D of the Eagles. There were flagrant penalties uncalled of course in that game, and remain un adjudicated as far as I know in the way of fines. See two flagrant hits to the head. I like the mean style of our front D, we need QB’s to be a bit fearful. I would love to see Stafford on his back a lot this weekend wondering who the fuck hit him. GPG!

  7. Tee Haire October 8, 2019

    Rob are you truly a Green Bay fan?

    1. Jason Parker October 8, 2019

      Just because Rob isn’t a part of the circle jerk…

      1. PF4L October 8, 2019

        I missed the sign up for the circle jerk. Which i guess i’m ok with because i don’t like standing in one place for long periods of time.

        1. Jason Parker October 8, 2019

          Just join a Packers group on Facebook and you’ll be getting jerked off in no time

          1. PF4L October 10, 2019

            No can do. I’m a one website man. If i’m going to be in a circle jerk, it has to be with people i know. I get shy with strangers.

          2. Jason Parker October 10, 2019

            Speaking of websites, I can offer $5 per post to submissions. That’s roughly what each post makes in revenue so I’ll break even on the user posts.

  8. Patch October 8, 2019

    They also all need to get off your lawn.

  9. PF4L October 8, 2019

    I noticed all that watching the game, and i suppose he could clean it up a bit, like the hands in the face. But here’s the thing…i’ll take a few penalty’s in return for a team that plays with passion. Not dirty play like someone named Burfict, but this petty shit i’m down with.
    This defense finally has some leaders. I don’t know how many times i’ve posted that this defense had no identity or leaders. Give me some aggressive players like Smith, Brown, Redmond, Alexander, Sullivan, etc over the likes of T Willy….anyday, and 3 hours on Sunday.
    I say….it’s about fukin time.

    1. Andrew Wildman October 8, 2019

      Agreed there. Fix these small things, it’s nothing compared to Burfict or Ndamukong Suh back when.

  10. Andrew Wildman October 8, 2019

    That fire and grit that Z has is exactly what they need. It’s just a matter of always playing smart, but everyone has some off plays. They know it, he’ll fix it, because that’s their damn job.

  11. Howard October 8, 2019

    Rob, I think it is worth bringing up the penalties. I don’t see that Z has shown a pattern over time that indicates he will not adjust slightly. I think Z has had 7 roughing the QB or Unnecessary roughness penalties in his career. Z has not shown a tendency for illegal use of hand penalties over the years. With that said, Z was used more as a situational player in Baltimore, so he had a reduced snap count.
    I believe the Packers D felt the Eagles offense beat them by being more physical. Z as one of the prime leaders of the defense wants to set a tone. I think Z and the coaches will correct as needed so as not to hurt the team in the future. I don’t think the Packers are going to try and break the stallion in Z.
    I would believe the Packers D is going to remain aggressive and with that some penalties will follow. I really felt that there was no need for Pettine to remain in man coverage in the late 3rd and 4th Q, but this team wants to be aggressive on defense and offense throughout the game. I’m all for the aggressive nature, with some slight adjustments in certain situations. I think QB#1 became concerned in the 4th Q that both the offense and defense were being to aggressive and needed to do more to drain the clock.

  12. Stiggy October 8, 2019

    Rob is right. Those were bone headed penalties or non penalties (in the case of the taunting that could easily have been called).

    Love Smith’s tone setting but you can set a tone without taunting non sense or throwing a tantrum cause you got blocked.

    Incidental contact or something that happens during the play is different…but to all the people on here saying “his edge is much needed” I imagine you would be the same people upset if the worst case scenario had happened and those penalties or non calls would have resulted in 14 Dallas points..

  13. Kevin October 8, 2019

    Well Rob, sounds like you need to put on your big boy pants and learn more about football. Z is just playing great football. There hasn’t been a nasty or malicious play from him yet. Actually there has been a few awful calls made against him, but such is the “new” NFL refereeing. No need to knock a great Leader and baller for being great at the game. Wake up!

  14. Deepsky October 8, 2019

    Yeah, these are stupid penalties, but it’s not like he’s stomping on guys like Suh or blind siding defenseless guys like Sapp or hitting guys helmet to helmet and ending careers like Taushan Gibson.

    I’m more worried about Za’Darius Smith getting injured. It sure seems like he’s not going to last all season.

  15. NobodysBurfect October 8, 2019

    Next week’s article from Rob; “Sure – Jenkins has performed well and not allowed a sack, but did you see his 40 time? He needs to drop 38lbs or it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t care about the team. What kind of name is “Elgton” anyway? T’s are too hard to pronounce following a G – makes for bad team chemistry when the secondary can’t even pronounce a guards name.”

  16. Mitch Anthony October 8, 2019

    You know the BS rag that was tossed at Rashan Gary for roughing the passer when his hand just brushed the helmet of Prescott? Well, on that call I was just happy that Rashan Gary was that close to an opposing QB, even if it was a total BS call.

    Rob, I do hear what you are saying. I’m usually one who hates the low impulse control that some players exhibit. They become rag magnets who can break your heart at the most inopportune time(s). The 15 yarder when you least need it against you, the 4th down that becomes a 1st down. That being said, I haven’t noticed Z Smith to be “that guy” until I read this. I was thinking he was more in the mature leader group. If he can motivate these others to play with energy and drive, that’s terrific. Balance it with smart play is better yet. Hopefully these things were a one game item and not an MO.

  17. PF4L October 8, 2019

    There are stupid penalties and then there are really stupid penalties. I’m more than cool with “passion” penalties (inside the lines) game in hand. What gets me is stupid non thinking penalties when the game is yet to be decided. Especially in the 4th quarter in a tight game, stupid penalties can kill a team (game) roughing the passer, PI. fights, extra shoving, just losing your cool. Sometimes this is a thinking mans game and you need to have game situational awareness. Don’t do stupid shit that cost your team the game. We see that around the league all the time. I don’t see that much with our Packers.

    Lets chill, and just enjoy what’s going on defense, it’s been a long damn time since i watched a Packer defense play with purpose. Keep the turnovers coming and get those yards per game given up down. 563 yards in 23 minutes of time of possession? Yes, 23 minutes…who does that? Think about that. Way the F out of line.

  18. Kato October 8, 2019

    Man, I tend to agree with Rob here I see nothing about a hands to the face penalty being good hard nosed football. I get wanting to play physical football on defense and setting a time, making ballcarriers not want to get the ball in their hands, putting fear in receivers. You can do that without hurting your team, or putting them in compromising positions. I think about the 2007 playoff game against the Seahawks, and the Packers laying big licks on the receivers. Atari Bigby if I remember right stood out in that game playing disciplined physical football. If you think a penalty like hands to the face is a good thing on third down to extend a drive, you are a troglodyte.

  19. PF4L October 8, 2019

    Kato…big picture….
    I don’t think anyone thinks hands to the face penalties are a “good thing”. Most of us have mentioned that he should, or will, clean that stuff up.
    It’s a petty penalty that can be rectified. People are defending him because his overall play is something special (so far) myself included. His overall production far out shadows a couple minor penalties.
    Personally i’m overjoyed a player that we acquired, is actually being a difference maker. Isn’t it about damn time? Not only that, he’s a free agent that is earning his pay. When was the last time you could say that?

    1. Stiggy October 8, 2019

      Jimmy Graham? Although I will say they have been doing a better job “getting Jimmy involved” maybe they were finally sick of saying it in every single press conference.

      In all seriousness…I would put the early impact of BOTH smiths slightly above ryan Pickett and below woodson impact..

    2. Kato October 8, 2019

      I agree PF4L. I am not going to complain too much, because like you said, he is actually productive 5 games in. Him and Preston Smith have had a large impact, and quite frankly hate to think about where we would be without them. Not only production, but they seem to be tone setters, which is just as important. It takes a certain mindset to play defense in the NFL, especially with rules geared toward offense. Some guys just don’t have that, and they played defense on the Packers for too long….

  20. Kato October 8, 2019

    I would like to see another body added to the defensive line. Has Montravious Adams done anything? A Howard Green type of guy to help on run downs

  21. KILLER October 8, 2019

    Hippo-crits. That’s right. Most of the above posters I’ve seen are hypocrites. You bitch and moan and,most of all, whine about Anthony Barr’s totally legal excellent classic perfect hit on Aaron Rodgers. Then, here, you celebrate or accept or embrace Z. Smith playing stupid and dirty. Knowing making penalties happen again and again over and over. Extremely poor sportsmanship and a complete failure of the brain neurons. And. You. Embrace. It.

    You equate dirty stupid play with “hard-nosed attitude” and “setting the tone”. Just silly.

    Then some of you even attack Rob Born for pointing it out. Hey, man, I’ve attacked him too but always for good cause. You guys have zero cause to attack him. You know, acting like someone pointing out the truth accurately IS the problem makes you guys look a lot like Trump. That’s just about the worst insult and greatest humiliation possible.

    You guys are messed up.

    By the way: Anthony Barr? On Sunday, no stupid penalties, a Sack called back due to defensive holding by someone in the secondary, a Hurry with a Hard Hit QB Knockdown, two other Hurries, a Pass Defense pass knockdown, a Good Coverage preventing a completion, a Tackle Behind the Line, a SAFETY(!), and a game-sealing Interception. Just wanted to update you on the Packers Public Enemy #1 who keeps Rodgers awake at night.

    By the way the Packers defense and pass D are now about where they actually belong in the defensive rankings. 22nd overall and 14th in pass D.

    1. PF4L October 8, 2019

      ^What happens when your team occupy’s the cellar of the NFC North^

    2. Stiggy October 8, 2019

      The vikings beat the Falcons/raiders/Giants….. 2 of them are complete bottom dwellers who will be fighting for top 5 draft pick status. The vikings lost to the Packers/Bears/Bills…. all three teams are actually good. Do you see pattern?

      1. KILLER October 8, 2019

        You make a fair point or, well, try to. Firstly, my points about the Packers all still stand and I see you bow to them and do not even try to assemble a disagreement.

        Next, Falcons were undefeated when we faced them…. Many national experts — the same ones who are so critical of Cousins — said the Falcons would win that game. The Raiders have a winning record and beat the Bears. The Giants had won two in a row and did not have a losing record when we faced them and we beat them in their home!!! All food for thought.

        It will be interesting to see when the Packers play the Giants and the Raiders. According to you, it they win, it means nothing. Whereas, if the Packers lose either game… oh, how embarrassing! Also when you face the Panthers. They were supposed to be worse than the Falcons which is why you face them instead of the Falcons… you know, based on your 6-9-1 record last year…

        So, we’ll see how your Giants, Raiders, and Panthers “bottom dweller” games match up to the Vikings Falcons, Raiders, Giants games. Yeah, we’ll just see. The best you can do, the best, is to do as well as the Vikings did.

        By the way, 4 teams have no wins. They lock up 4 of the current Top 5 draft pick slots and are not likely to lose them. 4 other teams have only 1 win including the Falcons (and the Cardinals who have a tie also). So, there is an outside chance the Falcons will draft 5th overall. That is 8 teams clearly worse than the Raiders and Giants and a bunch others tied with them in the standings. But, your claim of two teams drafting in the top 5 is false and will continue to be so. The Vikings only lost to the Packers — in Green Bay with the Packers getting an extra half week to prepare for them — only due to referee terrible calls and terrible non-calls. Had the game been ref-ed in a competent unbiased manner the Vikings would have won that game. In other words, the Packer game is not evidence against the Vikings, it is evidence for them.

        Just saying… you know… the truth….

        …which is like Kryptonite to a Packer fan.

        1. Kato October 8, 2019

          Knew this moron would show up. He is like a lost puppy. Where you are wrong, is I am pretty sure most of us here didn’t have a problem with the Barr hit. Also, where you are wrong, is associating hands to the face penalties with dirty play. That is not dirty play, intentionally trying to injure opponents is dirty play. Hands to the face penalties are the result of poor discipline. Get the fuck out of here, you are pathetic. Fans that go to other fans pages are sad people, you literally seek out conflict. Which by the way is a psychological condition associated with violence, antisocial behavior (don’t confuse going to a rival sports teams site and talking to online people as being social, actually points to quite the opposite given your 1000 word diatribes that no one here reads), and let their opinion be known on virtually everything, even if no one asks for it. Those are just a few characteristics of a high conflict person. Seriously, go get help. Packers message boards aren’t the place

          1. PF4L October 8, 2019

            Kato….Bringing the Dagger!

          2. Kato October 9, 2019

            I normally tend to skip over whatever “killer” says and ignore him. I used to think he was just a troll, and a pathetic one at that. But now, I just think he has issues. Mental health is a serious issue, and I hope he gets help. I would rather spar with you PF4L, because while we disagree on Packers related things at times, you actually give a shit about Packers football and want them to succeed, as does pretty much everyone else here. I am here to talk about Packers football, not read some Vikings Fan’s diatribes about how bad the Packers organization is, blah blah blah, Kirk Cousins is a God, blah blah. He is literally worse than a troll, he literally seeks conflict. I had a friend that was very similar, he would literally argue about everything for the sake of arguing. I eventually just stopped talking to him because it wasn’t worth my time and energy anymore.

          3. Jason Parker October 9, 2019

            You seem a lot smarter than the Kato that slept on OJ’s couch

          4. KILLER October 9, 2019

            Dude, take a chill pill. As much as you talk about psychological things it does seem as if you are the one in need for pharmaceutical treatments.

            No one makes you read my posts. You made a choice. You chose to read it and to answer it. I’m actually not trying to get responses though I do enjoy fun banter and intelligent debate. Unfortunately, you don’t have those to bring to the table. So, you need to desist. Back off. Calm down. Take a deep breath.

            Understand that it is a free country. Don’t read my posts if they cause you heartache. That is a very simple solution. I am surprised it had not occurred to you. Rest easy, friend, I now give you permission to stop reading them.

            As far as “seeks conflict” the hypocrisy alert has sounded as it often does with Packers fans. I write observations and true facts. You don’t like them and so…. you “seek conflict” by writing insult after insult. Like a third grader and as effective as well.

            It’s synchronicity, I was just writing about Packers fan hypocrisy being a common problem and then you provide yourself as a case example! Thanks, Kato!

          5. Ferris October 9, 2019

            Thank you Kato. Unfortunately I learned that posting replies sometimes causes more postings. Let’s start #neverreply, but it probably won’t help.

          6. KILLER October 9, 2019

            Correct. I enjoy the observing and the writing, no responses needed. Do as you will.

            It is hard to speak (write) the truth sometimes but it looks like it is much harder to read the truth based on some of you guy’s responses. Since all you can is attack the messenger it sure looks like you agree with the message.

            The message? Just to recap, the Packers 4-1 record is not an accurate representation of where they are at as a team.

            PS I enter this site just a guy with insight, faced with dozens of Packer fans, most of them abusive trolls (yes, a Packer fan on a Packer web site being abusive is a troll and a Vikings fan on a Packers web site does not a troll make), and, what happens? The truth wins out.

          7. PF4L October 10, 2019

            The truth is…..you have nothing better to do and you desperately need some attention in your life. Anything you have to say to defend yourself is contrived in your own mind as a means to justify yourself.
            Normal people simply don’t continuously go to websites where you are clearly aware that the people there don’t want you there. But you spend countless time there regardless writing your novels about a NFL football team you don’t support. So much so your willing to spew your hate over Packer players as if you know them personally. Even making things up and/or embellishing, creating a false truth in your mind to denigrate them, on their own teams website. All to try to bring attention to yourself.
            That…is why, (yes) you are a troll and are aptly named…The Lonely Boy
            Yes…The truth does win out.

          8. Kato October 10, 2019

            And PF4L comes in to twist the dagger
            I usually don’t read your posts Killer, treating them as flyover land. So now you are some woke m’fucker to tell us Packers fans this great truth? GTFO. You couldn’t find truth in a 12oz can of Hormel chili. Btw, I am not in any way stigmatizing mental illness. I don’t think having mental illness makes you a bad person necessarily. I am just saying from my perspective you at very least have some serious social issues. You spend an insane amount of time with people that obviously don’t value your input for the most part, and you spend a minimum of 20 minutes per novel you type out, not even counting proofreading (which it seems you do a little because you have rare grammatical/spelling mistakes) and reading other people’s posts. And you spend all that time here for what? What are you gaining from coming to this website? You obviously aren’t taking any knowledge or perspective from anything here since you are “woke” and “educating” us. You are literally Skip Bayless without the national recognition for being a hot take troll that thrives on conflict.

        2. Stiggy October 8, 2019

          Packers defense ranks 8th in pts allowed per game despite two weak games in a row. Thankfully they had the vikings offense to help keep that number low for them.