Za’Darius Smith Focused on Super Bowl, Not Pro Bowl

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – On Thursday, left tackle David Bakhtiari was a lot less interested in talking about his selection to the Pro Bowl than talking about the one giant snub.

Za’Darius Smith.

“I think the whole voting process is flawed and needs to be reviewed,” Bakhtiari said. “I think, personally, it kind of makes me unsettled because the best player on our team didn’t even make the Pro Bowl this year. I think Za’Darius was the best player on this football team. It’s unjust if I wouldn’t say that. We haven’t had any talks about it but the guy’s gone about everything the right way. He came in and he’s been an unbelievable football player. I know how it feels. I’ve been in that situation before. I just hope that he gets the All-Pro recognition that he deserves.”

For his part, Smith wasn’t concerned. His eyes are on a bigger price.

“I wasn’t worried about it from the jump,” Smith said after Friday’s practice. “(Defensive coordinator Mike) Pettine said something about it; he thought I should have went to the Pro Bowl. I was like, ‘Coach, I’m not even worried about the Pro Bowl. I’m trying to get to the Super Bowl.’ I’m going to let that be. We all know what type of event that is, so we’re going to stay out of that and focus on this game and hopefully get a chance to play in the Super Bowl.

Smith lost out to Tampa Bay’s Shaquil Barrett, Arizona’s Chandler Jones and Chicago’s Khalil Mack as the three outside linebackers on the NFC squad. Barrett leads the NFL with 16.5 sacks and 31 quarterback hits. Jones is second with 15 sacks but is tied for 15th with 19 quarterback hits. Barrett and Jones are tied for the NFL lead with six forced fumbles. Mack is having a down season by his standards with 7.5 sacks, 13 quarterback hits and five forced fumbles. Smith, meanwhile, is tied for ninth with 10 sacks and is third with 30 quarterback hits. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith is second with 78 pressures, Barrett is fifth with 69 and Mack and Jones are tied for 10th with 63.