Za’Darius Smith: We didn’t come ready to play against 49ers

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After the Packers’ loss to the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, head coach Matt LaFleur said he felt the team was lacking the fire needed to win such a game.

During an appearance on PFT Live, linebacker Za'Darius Smith was asked if he agrees with his coach. Smith said that he thought LaFleur was right and pointed the finger at himself as one of the players who needs to do more to avoid any repeats of that performance.

“We didn’t come ready to play. I don’t know if everybody was sleeping, but I can tell you for myself that I wasn’t ready to play either. . . . We weren’t ready to play football,” Smith said.

The Packers were flat on all three of their trips to California in 2019 and Smith said he thought the team should consider a change to their travel plans for future games in order to avoid those letdowns. Ultimately, though, he said he and the other players have to do a better job of being prepared and ready to go right off the bat once they get back on the field.

28 responses to “Za’Darius Smith: We didn’t come ready to play against 49ers

  1. Someone said almost this exact thing after the first game.

    Long time Packers fan here and I have to say that Z is doing everyone a disservice by saying anything more than “We were wiped twice by a vastly better team.”

    There is no shame in losing to a vastly better team.

  2. Listen, I understand trying to rationalize your performance against the 49ers on both occasions.
    Sometimes it’s just better to chalk it up to one team simply being better than the other.
    That was the case this season.
    Stop trying to create excuses and just give credit where credit is due.
    Hopefully next year, Green Bay will be able to compete with them better.

  3. Let’s be real here. As “amazingly talented” as Aaron Rodgers is at playing quarterback. His pure leadership skills are subpar. This team was flat as old soda from the start and it was all the tone set by and continued throughout by their QB.

  4. Didn’t they say the same think when they lost to the Chargers? It looks like the coaching staff will need to figure out how to make the Pack travel to the west better this offseason.

  5. but I bet he had some “witty’ word magic markered on his tee-shirt under his jersey ready to pull out after his first sack. And he went all out every play to get that sack, as usual. So he must be talking about his teammates here.

  6. He’s not talking about being ready to play effort. He’s talking about ready to play scheme and tactics.

    The Packers often used a double eagle front with the Ends spread wide to contain the outside run. The Niners simply decide to run outside and ran into those wide gaps between the Ends and DTs. The Smiths (ends) were supposed to keep everything inside and squeeze down their gaps if something came inside. Instead they kept rushing up field trying to blow up plays in the backfield but lost their gaps and containment. He and the other Smith were reckless and undisciplined on the edges and Shanahan out schemed them as well.

  7. Anything other than, “The 49ers were the better team” comes off sounding like an excuse. The Packers could have moved to California and still couldn’t the 49ers.

    Truth of the matter is that the Packers need to make changes to make their team better. They have the entire off season to do it but come next season, a talent upgrade is needed.

  8. cheeseisfattening says:
    January 30, 2020 at 4:00 pm
    but I bet he had some “witty’ word magic markered on his tee-shirt under his jersey ready to pull out after his first sack. And he went all out every play to get that sack, as usual. So he must be talking about his teammates.

    Always so much envy from you.

  9. San Fran is the class of the NFC regardless of how much their opposition collectively “came to play” — all the other NFC teams are also-rans.

  10. If I were management, I’d have you shipped out immediately. If you didn’t bring everything you have, then you need to bring that level of mediocrity to another team. It is one thing to be beaten doing your best and being beaten by a better team, but if you have to say you didn’t bring it, then you are like that overrated Ewwin Donald with the Rams who is a regular season stat padder and a post season vacationer.

  11. I think this team played well enough to get where they did, but they didn’t have the talent to win it all……..this year. At least they don’t have to improve as much as other teams rebuilding within the division, the same teams they swept with this supposed “inadequate” squad.

    Disappointed. Not discouraged. Oh, and…….

    Scoreboard.

  12. I believe not being ready is part of it. They likely knew they had a lot to practice and maybe didn’t feel good enough after practice to have the confidence going into the game. However, it’s also being overmatched on talent overall. And Rodgers is coasting now since his last big contract. He’ll have an occasional good game, but to play in the conference championship the QB needs to be solid. LaFleur wasn’t perfect either, but at least he’s learning the head coaching position in his first year. He’ll improve. The team as a whole will improve. I just think we’re stuck with a QB who won’t provide any edge in any matchup as he nears the end of his career.

  13. but I bet he had some “witty’ word magic markered on his tee-shirt under his jersey ready to pull out after his first sack.
    —–
    The man had 13.5 sacks….he can put whatever he wants on his shirt. The fact that you consider the word “snubbed” to be witty word magic is telling though.

  14. I would say he either lacked the fire or strength to play in that game. Kittle absolutely owned him:

  15. Time to get another new Head Coach, and a new GM

    It certainly wasn’t the Zero points the QB put up in the 1st half

    The QB is always blameless for these playoff Chokes

  16. Well, GB gets another crack at practicing west coast travel in 2020. Per NFL scheduling formula, Green Bay again at SF in 2020.

  17. The QB is always blameless for these playoff Chokes
    =====

    Packers opponent scores in Rodgers playoff losses;

    51, 37, 45, 23, 28, 26, 44, 37…. That’s 36 points per game

    No QB in the history of this game would win with that.

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