On Wednesday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that defensive end Jacquies Smith will miss the start of training camp as he was placed on the Active/PUP List. PUP stands for physically unable perform, and the reason is that Smith has not yet been medically cleared to practice after suffering a torn ACL in the first quarter of the 2016 season-opening victory at Atlanta. That injury prompted the team to place Smith on injured reserve.

Rookies Justin Evans (undisclosed injury), Kendell Beckwith (knee) and Jeremy McNichols (shoulder) were all medically cleared to suit up and practice in training camp. Evans got dinged up after rookie mini-camp and missed some OTAs during the offseason, while Beckwith and McNichols missed the entire offseason rehabbing from their surgeries.

Bucs DEs Noah Spence & Jacquies Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Once he passes a physical and is medically cleared by team doctors, Smith can be activated from the Active/PUP list at any time. Smith, who missed the entire offseason while rehabbing his injury, will not count against the Bucs’ 90-man roster while on the Active/PUP list, so it’s likely Tampa Bay will sign another player prior to the start of training camp on Friday.

Smith, who is entering the 2017 season in a contract year as a restricted free agent, was the team’s second-leading sacker in 2014-15, recording 13.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, in addition to recovering two fumbles – one of which he returned for a touchdown in ’14 in a 7-point home win against Jacksonville. Some Bucs fans might forget that Smith actually led the Bucs with four sacks in the preseason and was primed for a big year before tearing a ligament in his knee while covering a punt against the Falcons just minutes into the 2016 campaign.

“[His loss] was huge because he only played one play,” Bucs defensive line coach Jay Hayes said. “He played one play and it was disheartening, really. We went into the game and I think we stopped them on that first third down against the Falcons and he went out on the punt team and kind of got jostled. It was not a big hit. I think somebody just put his hand on him and his leg [buckled]. He walked off. I was talking to him and I said, ‘Hey, Jack. Next series let’s …’ and the trainers were talking to him and he said, ‘I think I hurt my knee.’ Then [the trainer] said that he thought he tore his ACL and that was it. He got one play.”

Smith’s pass rushing skills were sorely missed last year as Tampa Bay only had one player with seven sacks – Bucs Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who matched the same number of quarterback captures Smith had in 2015. While the defense cobbled together a respectable 38 sacks, losing Smith early on – and Ayers for four games due to an ankle injury – really hurt Tampa Bay’s ability to get to the quarterback on a consistent basis.

For more on Smith’s recovery this offseason, and what he has in store for the Bucs in 2017, read this edition of SR’s Fab 5.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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SAMUEL WHITE
SAMUEL WHITE
4 years ago

Jacquies Smith’s fumble recovery against Jacksonville was in 2015, the Bucs’ cross Conference matchup in 2014 was the AFCN and the AFCS in 2015. Additionally according to Pro-Football-Reference Smith has 4 fumble recoveries, not the 2 described in the story. Go Bucs!

drdneast
drdneast
4 years ago

Gee BobLB, now I can sleep soundly tonight now not having to worry about those minuet facts.

Havok904
Havok904
4 years ago

Maybe the Bucs can rent a time machine and bring that Jacquies Smith into the present

Dude
Dude
4 years ago

I think Smith is going to be huge this year for the Bucs and have that breakout season he might of had last year.

Horse
Horse
4 years ago

Small DE’s seem to equal early and multiple type of injuries. How many games has Smith actually played in since he has been a Buc? Anybody know?

fredster
fredster
4 years ago

Horse you make lot comments about players being too small like center,DE etc. I don’t think that’s determining factor with injuries. Sure it can play a role I guess but to me It’s genetics, conditioning,and plain damn luck IMO. Smith is what about 6-2 260lbs? Look at Von Miller who is really an outside Lb in a 3-4 but he’s 6-3 250lbs. One of best at his job IMO. Hasn’t been injured that much. Could argue 3-4 has to even be more physical. 3-4 Outside Linebacker will generally be expected to rush the passer effectively. That will be their #1… Read more »

scubog
scubog
Reply to  fredster
4 years ago

Good observation fredster. I enjoy Horse’s posts and know he’s a great fan, but he does comment about players being “too small” when a comparison to others at the position would prove otherwise. I’m of the “size doesn’t matter” group……….for good reason. Right girls?

Horse
Horse
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

Scu, you’re funny; always enjoy your posts. I don’t mine the comments as long as I have the chance to express my opinion. If the Bucs want to get into the playoffs they have to get bigger at some spots. When was the last time a 4-3 defense won a superbowl with a 6′ 2″(barely if that) DE? How about to the Conference Championship game? Same foe a 6′ 2″(barely, if that) Center?

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

Size is a factor, but generally minor compared to most others in football.

The guy who owns many of the NFL’s passing records is a mere 5 ft 10 in. He was supposed to be a bust because of his small size, and was drafted in the second round. He’s a helluva lot better passer than the quarterback of the Panthers who has 8 inches and 50 pounds of size advantage. One will be first ballot HOF for sure ,… the other, though he won an MVP a couple years ago, probably not.

Horse
Horse
Reply to  fredster
4 years ago

Smith isn’t a stand up pass rusher like Miller. If Hawley was so good why did Falcons let him go and sign a bigger Center? How did that work for them? Smith and hawley are fine players if you want to go 6-10 every year.

drdneast
drdneast
4 years ago

Horse, check out Dwight Feeney of the ex Falcons and ex Colts. Won the conference with he Falcons and the Super Bowl with the Colts and has always played around 250 to 260 range. I do agree with you somewhat though but don’t feel size is the overwhelming factor when it comes to injuries. I am of the mindset that it is more just dumb luck. Look at Terry Bridgewater last year. Even Smith didn’t hurt his knee of a contact play against the Falcons. A lot of players just blow their Achilles tendon out by moving in an atypical… Read more »