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Telvin Smith’s status key for Jaguars

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars got some slight good news on the injury front on Wednesday, as star linebacker Telvin Smith participated, though he still listed in the concussion protocol. Smith missed last week’s win against the Indianapolis Colts, but on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks Smith could be a key to the Jaguars potential success.

While Paul Posluszny played like a man on fire in Sunday’s win against the Colts, Smith brings unique speed to the defense that neither Posluszny or Myles Jack can. The Jaguars pass rush should be able to get pressure on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, but as Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone points out, Russ seems to excel even when under heavy pressure.

“When you watch him back there whether it’s throwing the ball, running the football, escapability, prolonging plays, just making plays, durability, I mean he just does it all,: Marrone said on Wednesday when asked about the danger of pressuring Wilson and if he thinks teams should slow their rush down and keep him in the pocket.

“I think it’s a combination of a lot of things that have to occur to try to—I don’t know if you can ever stop him, I think you just hope to contain him and limit some of the big plays that he’s been making,” Marrone added. “I put the film on and, again, I said I’ve never studied him until this week and I was like, ‘woah, this guy is special.’”

Wilson’s escapability and ability to make plays seemingly out of nowhere is something the Jaguars defense has to worry about, even with their pass rush and excellent secondary. A player like Smith can help contain that ability with his play recognition and pure speed.

“I’m sure it’s been a challenge for every team that they have played, but he’s continued to be able to do it,” Marrone added when asked how challenging defending Wilson is for linebackers. “He’s just a special player. It’s a challenge and things have to fall your way.”

If Smith isn’t active, it’s a big detriment for the Jaguars defense. If Smith is cleared in time to play and is ready to go, I don’t know that Smith is going to spy Wilson outright, but he can at least limit Wilson’s ability to scramble with the football and maybe turn those 15-20 yard gains into 5-10 yard gains.