Somehow, Za’Darius Smith did not win a single award for NFC Defensive Player of the Week in 2019. His breakout season with the Green Bay Packers saw him lead the team with 13.5 sacks, a sixth-place finish in the entire NFL.
Z was passed over a few times last season, most notably in week 16 when he recorded 3.5 sacks of Kirk Cousins to help the Packers clinch the NFC North. However, that left him a half-sack of Chandler Jones, who had four that week for the Arizona Cardinals in their win over the Seattle Seahawks.
In week four of the 2020 season, however, Smith would not be denied. He has officially been named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for week four after recording three sacks in the Packers’ 30-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. He also added two additional hits on quarterback Matt Ryan in the game plus a pair of additional pressures for a total of seven, while adding a fourth tackle for loss as well.
Although this is Smith’s first DPOW award as a Packer, it is the second time he has won a DPOW award in his career. He earned that honor once before as a member of the Baltimore Ravens, getting that title for week six of the 2018 season after another three-sack game.
The Packers claimed four NFC player of the week awards in 2019, three on offense and one on defense. Aaron Jones won Offensive Player of the Week for weeks five and eight, while Aaron Rodgers won the same award in week seven. Smith’s fellow edge rusher Preston Smith claimed the defensive award in week three a year ago.