Buccaneers DE Jacquies Smith to start on PUP list

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 27: Jacquies Smith
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 27: Jacquies Smith /

After suffering a torn ACL in the opening week of the 2016 season season, Jacquies Smith has been placed on the Buccaneers PUP list.

Buccaneers defensive end Jacquies Smith was a big part of Mike Smith’s plans for the defense in 2016 until he suffered a torn ACL in the first game of the season. The Buccaneers have now placed Smith on the Active/PUP list before training camp begins on Friday, July 28 per the team.

Smith will now be placed in a group with second year player Noah Spence, Robert Ayers, Gerald McCoy, Chris Baker, Clinton McDonald, George Johnson, Evan Panfil, and rookie Stevie Tu’ikolovatu among others. Smith is again expected to be a major contributor to the Bucs’ pass rush, even in a rotational role.

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The pass rush is something we witnessed come together in the second half of the season last year and Bucs fans are expecting that to carry into the coming year. The growing pains of Mike Smith’s system should be over with and the defense should be able to pick up where they left off, finishing the season with 38 sacks, 17 interceptions, and 20 fumble recoveries.

The addition of Baker and return of Smith will help those numbers.

The biggest question remaining is how Smith will fit in with the line. Robert Ayers is a full time guy. As for Noah Spence, he will be a rotational guy until he isn’t considered a liability against the run. George Johnson has been vastly underwhelming since returning to Tampa, but he has spent the off-season working with Warren Sapp to improve on his skill set and gain more playing time.

If he returns to his 2015 form, Smith will likely get the majority of the snaps opposite Ayers with a steady rotation of Spence, especially on third down. Smith could also see some additional playing time in 3-4 alignments if Mike Smith chooses to run them more the way many of us believe he will.

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Smith, while on the PUP list, still counts towards the 90-man training camp roster.