The Buccaneers picked up a huge Week 1 victory over the NFC South rival Falcons, but it came at a great cost with the news that Jacquies Smith is lost for the season.
Greg Auman for the Tampa Bay Times reports Smith has been placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL. The news was not altogether surprising, given it was the type of non-contact injury that is associated with a torn ACL, and Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter warned reporters that the news wasn’t going to be good.
It’s a huge loss for a Bucs squad that was hoping to make some noise this season. An undrafted player who had stints with three other teams, Smith emerged as a viable pass-rushing threat in 2014. In the two years since, the 6-foot-2, 260-pound end racked up 13.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 27 games.
The Bucs are still strong on the edge with William Gholston and Robert Ayers as starters, and second-round draft pick Noah Spence. That being said, Smith was an outstanding situational piece who could rotate in and keep Spence and other young players from being thrown into the fire.
Obviously that will no longer be the case. The Bucs will be looking for somebody to replace Smith’s production, and it’s not going to be easy. There may be teams out there that are less prepared to lose a proven pass rusher, but it still hurts all the same.