The Jacksonville Jaguars are starting off the 2012 season the same way they finished the 2011 season, with a slew of injuries on the defensive side of the ball.
The biggest of which is linebacker Daryl Smith, who was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings after missing the last two days of practice with a groin injury that kept him out for most of the preseason.
Smith is the unquestioned leader of the Jaguars defense and is one of the most underrated linebackers in the NFL, so his absence will be noticeable. The Jaguars expect to start Kyle Bosworth in his place on Sunday.
The Jaguars defense will also likely be without starting cornerback Derek Cox, who was listed as doubtful on the team’s final injury report with a hamstring injury he suffered in the first preseason game. William Middleton will likely start in place of Cox on Sunday.
The Jaguars defense will also be missing defensive ends Austen Lane (foot) and George Selvie (knee), but will have end Aaron Morgan available on Sunday. The Jaguars will rotate some of their defensive tackles at end this Sunday to make up for their lack of depth at the position due to injury.
Rookie defensive back Mike Harris (hamstring) is listed as questionable.
The Jaguars offense on the other hand appears to be entering the season at full strength.
Right guard Uche Nwaneri (ankle) and wide receiver Justin Blackmon (ankle) both practiced fully on Friday after missing parts of practice earlier in the week and are listed as probable for Sunday’s game.
The Jaguars also listed center Brad Meester as probable, but only because he missed practice on Wednesday for non-injury reasons.