Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Smith Still Has 'Deep' Impact; Jags Veteran Receiver Having Fun Outrunning Younger Defensive Backs

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Smith Still Has 'Deep' Impact; Jags Veteran Receiver Having Fun Outrunning Younger Defensive Backs

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO, The Times-Union

Jimmy Smith is enjoying life these days.

"I'm not pressurized to carry this team," the Jaguars' veteran receiver said Wednesday. "I'm just loving life right now, going out and having fun playing football with my teammates. That's the best way to play.

"I think that's something [coach] Jack [Del Rio] has brought to this team. . . . It takes you back to when you were in high school and you went out and had fun."

Smith, 34, is playing as well as he did five years ago.

He hauled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from rookie Byron Leftwich Sunday night to clinch a 17-10 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was the third time he has caught a touchdown pass of 43 yards or more this year.

Last year, his longest touchdown catch was a 37-yarder and he had one catch of 47 yards.

"We had kind of gotten away from the deep ball [last year] and that was frustrating. I know I can still do what I do best and that's go deep," he said.

He congratulated offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave for having enough confidence in Leftwich to let him throw the deep ball.

"He's not holding Byron back. He's letting Byron be a quarterback," Smith said.

Although the West Coast offense is noted for featuring the short passing game, Del Rio said he and Musgrave like to throw the deep ball.

Smith's message to Leftwich is that he can't overthrow him because he'll go get the ball.

"I've been telling him that for about five weeks now," Smith said with a smile.

Leftwich said, "I can overthrow him, but he has another gear that a lot of people don't have. When I threw the ball [against the Bucs], I actually thought it was a little too far, but he dropped into a sixth gear. He's almost giving you a 100 percent guarantee that he's going to go get it."

Off the field, Smith said he appreciates being able to play after going through the trauma of a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy at the start of the season. …

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