JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Daryl Smith has been a cornerstone of Jacksonville's defense for nearly a decade, playing all three linebacker spots and consistently making key plays all over the field.
He also missed just three games during his first eight years.
So sitting out the first five games this season with a groin injury has been frustrating for him and trying for his defensive teammates.
The Jaguars (1-4) rank 29th in total defense, a significant drop-off from 2011, but believe they can turn things around with Smith's expected return this week against the Oakland Raiders (1-5).
Smith injured his groin in training camp and missed the entire preseason. He returned to practice the week before the season opener, but suffered a setback. He hasn't practiced at full speed since.