Jaguars not planning ‘pitch count’ for Dawuane Smoot in return game

Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Dawuane Smoot is “good to go” for Sunday and is set to play his first game since suffering an Achilles tear in December, head coach Doug Pederson said Friday.

While the team doesn’t want to push Smoot too hard in his return, Pederson also said that there won’t be any planned limit on his play time against the Indianapolis Colts.

“He brings a veteran leadership and presence out there,” Pederson said. “You can play him in base defense, you can play him in nickel in pass rush situations. There’s his production that comes from being inside and all of that on third down and stuff.

“I don’t think you want to put him on a pitch count, but I think you have to monitor, and you don’t want to get his rep count too high. But at the same time, you want to let him get comfortable with the game and see how he is doing throughout the course of three hours or so that you’re out there.”

Smoot, 28, played a rotational role during the 2022 season with Josh Allen and Travon Walker manning the starting roles at outside linebacker. That’ll still be the case in 2023 with Smoot and K’Lavon Chaisson getting the majority of their snaps in relief of the starting duo.

Last season, Smoot averaged 29.7 snaps per game — or about 40 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. This year, Walker has been on the field 83 percent of the time and Allen has been on the field for 73 percent of the snaps.

It shouldn’t be difficult for the Jaguars to work Smoot into the mix against the Colts without pushing his snap count too high.

Smoot has 22.5 sacks in the last four seasons with exactly five to six sacks in each year. He was leading the Jaguars in sacks last season when he suffered his season-ending injury in Week 16 against the New York Jets.

Story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire