Smith was a full participant in Thursday's opening training camp session after recovering from shoulder surgery throughout the offseason, Greg Auman of the Tampa BAY Times reports. The third-year defensive end was excited about his return to on-field work and the opportunity to start building on a productive 2015 campaign that saw him tally 37 tackles (including two for loss), seven sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and a pass defensed in 12 games. "It feels good," Smith said of his first day back on the field. "Obviously I missed OTAs and stuff, and I've been missing being out their with the guys and doing my part. It's a great time to be back. The energy level, the vibe, I'm happy to be back." The 26-year-old slots into a defensive end rotation that packs plenty of pass-rushing potential, given that it will include free-agent acquisition Robert Ayers and 2016 second-round pick Noah Spence.
Smith moves down a notch on the left defensive end depth chart with the signing of Robert Ayers to a three-year deal, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Ayers immediately steps in as the starting left defensive end as a bookend with returning starter William Gholston on the opposite side, knocking Smith down to the second unit. Having just been tendered as an exclusive rights free agent, Smith still figures to receive a healthy amount of snaps as part of an increasingly deep and improving defensive line rotation. However, a notable drop from the 546 plays on defense (49.6 percent of all defensive snaps) he tallied in 2015 appears inevitable.
The Bucs have tendered Smith as an exclusive-rights free agent, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The league-minimum offer guarantees that the Bucs will hold on to their most productive defensive end over the last two seasons. Smith will only turn 26 next week, and has totaled 13.5 sacks in Tampa since being claimed off waivers after Week 1 in the 2014 season. His 2015 tally of seven sacks second only to perennial Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy's 8.5 on the season. The Missouri product also added 22 tackles (15 solo), two tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and a pass defensed.
Smith collected three tackles (two solo) and a sack in Thursday's 31-23 loss to the Rams. The second-year pro made a successful return after a two-game absence due to a hamstring injury. Smith added his seventh quarterback takedown of 2015, with the sack placing him just below Gerald McCoy's team-leading-7.5 figure. Smith has provided solid pressure all season long, and is a young player to keep on eye on over Tampa's final two contests.
Smith (hamstring) will not play in Sunday's game against the Saints, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports. With Gerald McCoy (hand) looking highly questionable and George Johnson (calf) also uncertain, the Tampa Bay defensive line may be severely depleted for a second straight week. Smith only has 17 tackles in nine appearances, but he's more than made up for it with six sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
|3||09/25||Los Angeles Rams||30|
|7||10/23||@San Francisco 49ers||15|
|11||11/20||@Kansas City Chiefs||4|
|13||12/04||@San Diego Chargers||8|
|14||12/11||New Orleans Saints||22|
|16||12/24||@New Orleans Saints||22|