Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

After Long Wait, LB Smith May Return for Jags; Team's All-Time Leading Tackler Has Yet to Play in a Game This Season

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

After Long Wait, LB Smith May Return for Jags; Team's All-Time Leading Tackler Has Yet to Play in a Game This Season

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino

It was a welcome sight for the Jaguars on Monday when they returned to work from their bye weekend.

For the first time since August, one of their best defensive players, linebacker Daryl Smith, was back practicing and poised to play again.

Smith hasn't practiced since he heard something pop and suffered a groin injury during a play in practice before an August scrimmage.

He hoped he'd be out only a couple of weeks. Instead, Smith sat out for more than two months.

Smith was limited in practice Monday, with coach Mike Mularkey saying Smith participated in "bits and pieces."

Smith said of his work Monday, "I got some plays in along with everybody else and had a pretty good day. I'm itching to see how it goes."

Mularkey doesn't know if Smith will be able to play Sunday in Oakland or how effective he'll be if he does.

"I'm hoping he can play," Mularkey said. "I think everybody does."

The Jaguars need Smith back. They're 1-4, and the defense, ranked 29th in yards allowed, is struggling.

Mularkey remains optimistic and told the team there are currently 13 teams with one or two wins.

"I said that every year that I can think of, with the exception of one that I saw - I think it was 2010 - somebody comes out of the pack and does some good things. I think I've seen it all the way up to 12-4 and all the way to 8-8 and make the playoffs," he said.

Mularkey wants the Jaguars to be the team that comes out of the pack this year, but acknowledged they don't have much time left to turn things around.

"You're running out of weeks," he said.

Getting Smith back would help a defense that has plunged from sixth in yardage allowed last year to 29th.

His absence isn't the only reason the defense has slumped. The Jaguars had other injuries and haven't been making big plays.

"Any time we can get him on the field, it's great for our defense and great for our team," said middle linebacker Paul Posluszny.'

Smith was second to Posluszny in tackles last season with 166, including 125 solo tackles. Smith is also one of the Jaguars' best blitzers and led the team in tackles for loss in 2011.

The nine-year veteran holds the team record for career tackles and has had more than 100 for seven consecutive years. …

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