The Jacksonville Jaguars defense has been what most of us thought it would the past three weeks, but it was still lacking one element to really cement the defense as something teams need to worry about, a playmaker. On Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, the Jaguars might have seen a playmaker in rookie linebacker Telvin Smith begin to emerge in the latter half of the game.
With the Jaguars ahead of the Browns by two scores with a 17-6 lead in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars fifth-round pick made back to back plays that all but sealed the victory. On first down Smith stuffed the run, stopping running back Ben Tate for a zero-yard gain and on the next play picked off Browns quarterback Bryan Hoyer.
Jaguars rookie running back Storm Johnson scored a touchdown two plays later to put the score to 24-6 and all but seal the game for the Jaguars.
"He’s consistently gotten better. Again, you saw his speed on tape, at least we did on tape yesterday," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said about Smith. "I think his comfort level of understand of the defense is growing so they’re all really good signs, all really good signs."
It wasn't just those two plays by Smith that stood out either, he made some plays all over the field and nearly had an interception earlier in the third quarter.
Smith's speed and instincts look like they're finally beginning to work together as the game slows down for him, and he ended the day with multiple tackles, a pick, a sack, a tackle for loss and two pass deflections.
With the injury to Paul Posluszny and his play the past few weeks, we should see a lot more Telvin Smith on the field.