Defensive end Dawuane Smoot will make his 2023 debut against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6. However, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be without wide receiver Zay Jones and offensive lineman Walker Little for the divisional bout.
Head coach Doug Pederson met with the local Friday and said Smoot should be good to go, while Jones and Little are still "further away." He also provided an injury update on sophomore linebacker Devin Lloyd, who's missed the last two games.
"Smoot should be good to go. He's had two good weeks of practice, he feels good," Pederson said. "We'll get through today, make that determination but all indications are there that he's ready to go for this game. Walker and Zay are a little bit further away. I don't anticipate them in this game right now. Devin Lloyd is back. Got him back in there, you'll see a little bit of a cast off, cast on his hand and wrist out there, but he's back in the mix.
Jones sat out Weeks 3 and 4 with a knee injury. He played against the Buffalo Bills and scored a touchdown but got hurt again. Walker Little moved to left guard in Week 5 and suffered an MCL injury. Neither one practiced this week and both of them have already been ruled out for the rematch against the Colts. Cornerback Christian Braswell, who's been dealing with a hamstring injury, has also been ruled out.
Smoot hasn't played since Week 16 of the 2022 season. He tore his Achilles and has spent the last few months recovering. He recently said that he's ahead of schedule and feels ready to help the Jags win games.
Lloyd got the questionable tag for the game. If he isn't good to go, fellow sophomore Chad Muma will make his third start of the season. On the other hand, the coaching staff could plug him back into the lineup and see how he fares.
The Jaguars have enough firepower to go toe-to-toe against the Colts in Week 6
Walker Little would have solidified what's turned out to be the weakest link for the offensive line. But with him out for the game, Tyler Shatley will get the start at left guard. A grizzled veteran, Shatley will be tasked with containing defensive tackles Grover Stewart and DeForest Buckner.
Although the Jags would like to have Zay Jones in the lineup, they have enough firepower on offense to move the ball against the Colts. Evan Engram has been among the best tight ends in the NFL this season and wide receiver Calvin Ridley is coming off his best game as a Jaguar. With Jones unable to go, Jamal Agnew and Tim Jones will once again see an uptick in playing time.
On the other hand, Jacksonville should be thrilled about Dawuane Smoot's return. The Colts have a dynamic backfield duo in Zack Moss and Jonathan Taylor. Smoot could help the Jags stymie Indy's running attack, which ranks eighth in rushing yards and fifth in rushing touchdowns in the league.
While the Jaguars would like to have Zay Jones and Walker Little for Week 6, they have enough depth to overcome their absence and extend the Colts' losing streak at EverBank Stadium to nine games.