Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said second-year defensive end Chris Smith will have more playing time against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Bradley has been assaulted with questions about what he's going to do to help fix a bad defense -- especially one of the worst pass rushes in the league. For weeks, he's rolled with Andre Branch and Chris Clemons at the LEO position. But in the past two weeks, that pairing has accounted for more offsides penalties than they have tackles. But it looks like with the playoffs firmly out of the picture, other players will get some opportunities.
When asked on Thursday if we'd see more of Smith this week, Bradley flatly said "Yes."
"It’s hard because these guys are ‘we understand’ but it’s tough," Bradley continued. "They’re competitors and they want to be in there and they want to help. That’s how Chris Smith is. My conversation with him has been during this time can you continue to compete through practice and continue to improve? And he really has. He’s done a great job with that. I think I mentioned it two weeks ago to you. We’re trying to find ways to get him up and we’re finding a way."
According to Pro Football Focus, Smith has played a team-low 106 snaps for defensive linemen, but he has one batted pass at the line of scrimmage (the same as Andre Branch and Chris Clemons, who have 393 and 512 snaps, respectively), one sack, and four hurries.
That means Smith has a 0.9% efficiency rating of sacking the quarterback and a 3.8% efficiency rating of hurrying the quarterback. Compare that to Branch (0.7% for sacks and 2.8% for hurries) and Clemons (0.3% for sacks and 1.9% for hurries) and you wonder why Smith hasn't been given more opportunities before now.
It will be interesting to see how Smith does with more snaps over the next four games, as Branch and Clemons are not expected (and by many, not really wanted) back in Jacksonville next season.