Through two games, Packers linebacker Za’Darius Smith (above) has impressed coaches and teammates with his play and his leadership — and that was before he treated the entire defense to dinner on Thursday night at Republic Chophouse, a steak joint in downtown Green Bay. Smith, elected as a team captain despite being in his first year with the Packers, wanted to celebrate the team’s 2-0 start and the defense being ranked second in scoring defense (9.5 points per game).
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When LaFleur took the head-coaching job in January and broke down existing film of all the players he was inheriting, he was especially impressed by the cornerstone tackles he had on offense — right tackle Bryan Bulaga and left tackle David Bakhtiari (above right). And the duo has not disappointed.
LaFleur is a smart guy. He knows his No. 1 wide receiver, Davante Adams (above), is one of the league’s top pass-catchers and needs to be a primary focus of the offense. He also knows that it’s a long season, and he probably can’t have Adams playing 127 of the team’s first 132 snaps (96.2%) like he has the first two games.
Packers special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga wouldn’t say who’d handle each role, but it seems likely that Smith would handle kickoffs and Shepherd would get the call on punts.
Suffering from an injured groin, the veteran didn’t take part in Thursday’s practice.
Ron Wolf, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and author Michael Bauman will be at the Barnes & Noble West Towne store on Thursday at 7 p.m. signing copies of the book.
Green Bay can hand return duties to wide receiver Darius Shepherd or newly added cornerback Tremon Smith, who was claimed off waivers from Kansas City earlier in the week.
With Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, the Broncos mark the third straight game the two Green Bay tackles will face elite pass rushers.
While confirming that starting quarterback Drew Brees would have surgery Wednesday, Sept. 18 to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton said the offensive plan for Sunday’s game against Seattle will include both remaining quarterbacks, Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill.