The Packers have placed edge rusher Za’Darius Smith on injured reserve, according to head coach Matt LaFleur (Twitter link via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com). The Packers initially hoped to have him ready for Week 2, but his back hasn’t healed as quickly as expected.
“We’re going to have to shut him down for a while,” LaFleur said. “[It’s a matter of,] do you keep him in a limited 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.”
Smith came off Green Bay’s active/NFI list August 9 but suffered setbacks shortly after. The Packers plan to exercise caution here, shelving Smith for at least another three games.
Smith, 28, also took issue with how the Packers restructured his contract earlier year. However, club officials have made it clear that Smith’s absence is strictly injury-related.
In theory, the two-time reigning NFC North champs are well equipped to handle Smith’s absence, given the presence of Preston Smith and former first-round pick Rashan Gary. Still, they didn’t look great in any facet last week as the Packers were crushed 38-3 by the Saints.
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