Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur wasn’t ready to say if newcomer Jaylon Smith will be ready to make his debut on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
“We’re working hard towards that, but that’s kind of a wait and see type deal. We’ll see where he’s at at the end of the week and whether or not he’s ready to go,” LaFleur said.
Smith officially signed with the Packers last Thursday. Given only a day or two of prep, he was made inactive against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Smith played over 3,500 defensive snaps during his first five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. He’s attempting to learn a brand new defense on the fly with a new team, and Joe Barry’s defense is healthy at inside linebacker and can be patient integrating Smith into the scheme.
The Packers could use Smith in a role resembling what Oren Burks already plays for the defense. Used primarily on passing downs, Burks has been deployed in coverage and as a blitzer through the first five games. Smith has struggled against the run in recent years but could have value against the passing game.
During his first four games in Dallas this season, Smith played 103 snaps in coverage and 10 as a blitzer. He was on the field for only 35 snaps against the run.
The Packers will have to figure out ways to fit Smith into a meaningful role next to starter De’Vondre Campbell, who is having a terrific start to the season. Burks and Krys Barnes have played 193 combined snaps at linebacker during the first five games.
Packers’ highest-graded players at PFF through first 5 games of 2021