The Jacksonville Jaguars are close to getting defensive end Dawuane Smoot. However, they'll need to wait a bit more since he's still 100 percent. Wide receiver Zay Jones, on the other hand, is likely a go against the Buffalo Bills in Week 5.
Head coach Doug Pederson met with the media Friday and went over the team's injuries. He says that barring a setback, Jones, along with return specialist Jamal Agnew, will play Sunday. Similarly, rookie defensive end Antonio Johnson should be a full-go after a productive week of practice.
"Starting with Jamal, Zay, guys who missed last week. Both those guys have had a really good week of preparation and practice," Pederson said. "Right now, optimistic that they'll play in this game. Antonio Johnson, who's missed with his hamstring injury is doing well he practiced this week. So again barring any setbacks look for him to be up and active."
Jones has been dealing with a knee injury that's forced him to miss the last two games. This season, he's got five receptions for 55 yards. Agnew, for his part, sat Week 4 with a quad injury. If Johnson does play against Buffalo, he will be making his NFL debut.
Regarding Smoot, Pederson says he doesn't expect him to play in Week 5. However, he says the defensive end looked well in practice.
"Smoot looked really well. We opened his window this week. He's looked really good. Probably don't anticipate him playing in this game but he's really close. So we're optimistic that maybe next week he'll be ready to go. Shoot, he gave Anton a great look this week on the look team and that's what we needed out of Smoot in the end. He did a great job," Pederson said.
Smoot tore his Achilles last year and started this season on short Injured Reserve. Earlier this week, the Jags opened the 21-day window to return. Besides Smoot, cornerback Christian Braswell, linebacker Devin Lloyd (didn't travel with the team to London), and wide receiver Parker Washington have already been ruled out. Defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi also popped up on the injury report with a shoulder injury.
The Jaguars will need all the help they can get vs. the Bills
The Bills are arguably the best team in the NFL right now, so not having Dawuane Smoot back in the fold isn't great news. Then again, Zay Jones should give the passing game a boost. Trevor Lawrence has been playing well but hasn't always gotten help from his supporting cast this season, whether it's the offensive line or his wide receivers.
Working in the Jaguars' favor is that they fixed some of the issues that have been plaguing them (drops, pass rush) against the Falcons. For Sunday, Jacksonville needs to build on last week's win, avoid mistakes, and try not to do too much, a couple things that have held them back in previous weeks.
This will probably be the Jaguars' biggest test of the regular season. They've shown that when they're firing at all cylinders, they can keep up with the best. Will that be the case in Week 5?