The Jacksonville Jaguars lost their best offensive player already this week, now they have made the decision to shut down their best defensive player.
The Jaguars announced on Thursday that they placed linebacker Daryl Smith on the new injured reserve list that gives him the ability to return later in the season. Under this new rule, a team can designate one injured player with this special tag that allows them to return to practice six weeks after the tag is applied and be activated eight weeks after the tag is applied. So, the earliest Smith could return is in Week 16.
Smith, who suffered a groin injury early in training camp and re-aggravated it prior to the regular season, has missed the entire season so far. As recently as last week, the Jaguars coaching staff had expressed some optimism that Smith was close to a return. However, since practicing once last week Smith has been held out as he presumably had yet another setback in his recovery from the initial injury.
The Jaguars defense has struggled tremendously this season with Smith’s absence. In recent seasons, Smith had begun to build a reputation as one of the most underrated 4-3 outside linebackers in the NFL. His combination of speed and sound tackling made him an above average defender against both the pass and run. His absence is one of the key factors in the Jaguars defense falling from where it finished ranked 6th in total yards allowed last season to where it currently sits this season at 28th.
This injury could not have come at a worse time for Smith, who is scheduled to be a free agent following this season. It might, however, be good for the Jaguars as it may lower his price tag this offseason.