Should Packers be concerned about Preston Smith?

Can Preston Smith return to the elite form he showed last season?

Amid the hot start from Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, pass rusher Preston Smith has been one of only a few Packers that haven’t pulled their weight to this point. Smith is barely getting to the quarterback, which is a sharp about-face after his signing helped improve Green Bay’s defense from a laughingstock to one of the league’s best in 2019.

Smith isn’t sweating his slow start, even if most Packers fans are, saying that sacks come in bunches and that he’ll be fine during the grind that is a 16-game NFL season.

Preston Smith has just 0.5 sacks this season

Smith recorded 24.5 sacks during his first four seasons in Washington, but he immediately hit the ground running under Mike Pettine in Green Bay, piling up 12 in a year that Matt LaFleur took the Packers to the NFC Championship game. While Za’Darius Smith has five sacks already, continuing his emergence as an elite pass rusher, his counterpart has hit a brick wall.

Smith might be able to turn things around against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week. Smith will have the option of rushing against one of the league’s most inconsistent left tackles in Donovan Smith or a rookie in Tristan Wirfs. The immobile Tom Brady in the pocket might also be able to help Smith beef up his sack numbers and shake off what has been a very slow start.

As the Green Bay coaching staff can attest to, piling up the sacks isn’t the be-all and end-all for evaluating pass rushers. However, Smith is simply not getting home early in the season, and that could come back to bite Green Bay when they face a quarterback who can go toe to toe with Rodgers.

Next: NFC North pass rusher power rankings

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