Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NO TIME TO FEEL TIRED; Jags LB Telvin Smith Is Playmaker, Hasn't Hit Rookie Wall

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NO TIME TO FEEL TIRED; Jags LB Telvin Smith Is Playmaker, Hasn't Hit Rookie Wall

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith has battled through the rookie wall.

Not that he even acknowledges it. To the former Florida State standout, the wall doesn't exist.

"I don't believe in the rookie wall," Smith said. "I believe it's a mindset. You can't think that your body is starting to feel it or you'll get sluggish. We know we don't have a playoff berth, but we're still fighting for our pride. We want to show that next season we'll be more prepared and ready. If you have the heart to do it down in and down out, you can do it."

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley referenced Smith when asked about the rookie wall on Monday. The question was geared toward quarterback Blake Bortles, but Bradley utilized Smith in his example of why he doesn't buy into it.

Smith is coming off arguably his best game of the season. The fifth-round pick led the team with 12 tackles and recovered two fumbles in Sunday's 23-3 loss at Indianapolis.

Smith will try to keep his impressive season going Sunday when the Jaguars (1-10) host the New York Giants (3-8) at EverBank Field.

"A guy like Telvin Smith, he has 12 tackles, two fumble recoveries," Bradley said. "He's not playing like he hit a wall. So, Gus, do you believe he hit the rookie wall? No, but I think a big part of it is because he's playing [well]."

Smith has become the defense's most reliable playmaker. He's the lone defender to have both a sack and interception this season for the Jaguars.

"Telvin is just instinctive," Jaguars linebacker J.T. Thomas said. "He gets around the ball and makes things happen. That's his thing. He's always been a playmaker. That's who he is."

Smith has two sacks, a pick, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries this season while playing limited snaps. To put that impact in perspective, strong safety Johnathan Cyprien (who rarely misses a snap) has yet to record any of those stats.

Smith did get a chance to show what he can do playing nearly a full game against the Colts. …

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