Defensive end Dawuane Smoot suffered an Achilles tear against the New York Jets last year. He's been focused on his recovery since then, and signs point toward him making his 2023 season debut against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6. Heading into the game, Smoot says he's ready to help the Jacksonville Jaguars.
During a recent sitdown with Mia O'Brien of 1010 XL, Smoot says feels good being back at practice after being away for nine months.
I'm gonna say thank god. I'm about nine months out from my recovery, way ahead of schedule," Smoot said. "And I just feel great, my left feels great. I didn't have any problems, just checking off the jitters, get my time right, get my hands right. And that's really my biggest dilemma.
Later in the exchange, Smoot said he's completely clear to play and talked about what he brings to the table.
"I know that I bring internal pressure, a consistent pressure right in the quarterback's face. So I'm always trying to do whatever I can to help us win at the end of the day, and help us continue to win," Smoot said.
A third-round pick in 2017, Smoot is one of the longest-tenured members on the Jags' roster. Although he didn't register a sack in his first two seasons, he tallied 22.5 the past four years. He signed a two-year deal in 2021 and inked another one-year deal in the offseason.
Jaguars DE Dawuane Smoot couldn't have returned at a better time
The Jaguars have done a good job of stopping the run in 2023, ranking fifth in rushing yards allowed and 10th in rushing touchdowns allowed. However, they'll meet their match when they face the Colts in Week 6. Indy currently ranks eighth in rushing yards and fifth in rushing touchdowns.
Although the Colts only mustered 65 yards in their first encounter with the Jags, they were down to Deon Jackson, their third-string running back. With Zack Moss and Jonathan Taylor in the fold, they have a dynamic 1-2 punch at the position.
Smoot says Taylor and Moss are similar runners and they'll both present a challenge for the Jacksonville defense.
"They're both one-cut runners. One is bigger than the other, one is obviously older than the other. A little more seasoned, knows what he's looking for. So both of them are really good backs. They both have really good vision. It's going to be a challenge for sure."
The Jaguars and the Colts boast equal 3-2 records heading into Week 6. Whoever wins the bout will be in sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the AFC South while the loser tries to catch up. The Jaguars are currently a 4-point favorite and haven't lost to Indy at EverBank Stadium since 2014 but this is the kind of game they can't afford to take lightly.
Week 6 is shaping up to be one a statement game for the Jaguars in the first half of the 2023 season. They'll need all the help they can get, so having Dawuane Smoot back in the fold should help them contain the Colts.