Is Daryl Smith Hurting?

April 5th, 2016
New/Old Bucs linebacker Daryl Smith

New/Old Bucs linebacker Daryl Smith

New but old Bucs starting linebacker Daryl Smith, the 34-year-old free agent signee formerly with the Ravens and Jaguars, is a highly respected NFL warrior of 174 games.

For some perspective on Smith’s ironman-like  career, retired Logan Mankins played in 161 games. Derrick Brooks logged 224 games.

Joe assumes Smith is healthy, but reading a great December feature on the Smith in the Baltimore Sun has Joe skeptical.

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees alludes to an unspecified injury Smith has played through. “I have the most respect I can have for a guy like that,” he says.

But if Smith is hurting, he doesn’t let on. Big surprise.

“I feel pretty good,” he says. “You have your bumps and bruises along the way. We always joke around that the day you come to camp is the best you’re going to feel for a long time. It’s just the nature of the beast.”

Ravens coaches have said nothing publicly about the perceived decline in Smith’s coverage skills. But they’ve offered some hints with the way they’ve used him. He played 100 percent of the team’s defensive snaps through Week 8. In the six games since, the Ravens have regularly spelled Smith with [Zach] Orr in obvious passing situations.

Overall, Smith has played 93.8 percent of the Ravens’ defensive snaps this year

Yes, loads of NFL players are banged up and perform well, but old and banged up — and on the open market — raises red flags.

There’s plenty more in the story. Click on through above. Joe finds it interesting that the quiet Smith participated in an official Ravens mentoring program, which assigns each rookie to a veteran player. He’s that kind of lead-by-example guy.

It will be interesting to see how Smith is used. He’s always been a true three-down linebacker, but the Bucs have two of those in Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David already, a rare luxury.

If Smith’s playing time is cut to, say, 65 percent of snaps, then it might help his effectiveness and preserve his health.

8 Responses to “Is Daryl Smith Hurting?”

  1. Bird Says:

    100 agree. Less snaps. Fresh legs for an older player who still put up some sick numbers over the last 3 years. He can still contribute and be mentor on field to young players

  2. Strider ....Sec 147 Says:

    Does he have a Ring?

  3. 813bucboi Says:

    @strider…no he came after the retirement of ray lewis and played in jax the rest of his career…GO BUCS!!!

  4. Pickgrin Says:

    Playing Sam spot will limit Daryl Smith’s snaps and hopefully keep him fresh and healthy. His stats the last 3 straight years are VERY impressive. A great FA pick-up IMO.

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    I’m also quite sure Smith will cross train at Mike and Will in case of injury to either Kwon or LaVante. And if he did have to fill in – there would not be much drop off in play or capability.

    Smith’s value as a back up to either of our star LBers could be much greater to the team’s success than his value as a starting Sam if either one gets hurt.

  6. James Walker Says:

    Not another Carl Nicks PLEASE!!!!!

  7. Evo Says:

    Frankly I love the signing. I tough hard nose mentoring aging player? This guy has seen it all. Played through every type of situation. What’s our defenses biggest weakness besides no push rush? We are a mentally weak team. Our toughest player is our 22 year old qb.

    I’d love to see how smith will react during one of David’s “mental breakdowns ” during a game. I love David the player. But mentally he’s not a tough person at all. He’s taken out of his game much too easily. So I think smith will be good for David.

    Also Alexander is young and has the right mentality. Seems to be made of the tough stuff. But let’s give him a vet to teach him thr ropes a little more. He did all that last year with no leadership on D. Image him with a vet on field with him in his ear. Kid will be even better.

    I think smith is here for his mental toughness more than his coverage skills. Our team needs a toughness upgrade and needs it fast. Our defensive captain is soft. He plays soft and if our leader is soft. Our defense is soft. Let’s change that. Good move bucs

  8. CanuckBuc Says:

    Great article Joe! First I thought ‘Oh Sh!!’ but like the way that you showed that in his probably position with the Bucs, Smith should be an (healthy) asset.