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Big week for Smith, Jags


Tom Coughlin was an assistant coaching the Eagles wide receivers when star pass-catcher Mike Quick was a holdout. Quick didn't report to the Eagles until the week of the regular-season opener and Coughlin said "it wasn't pretty." For that reason, Coughlin wants Jimmy Smith to end his holdout this week.

"I've been feeling that way for a couple of weeks," Coughlin said at today's noon press conference. "A player who does not participate in training camp is at a huge disadvantage. Jimmy has displayed the ability to overcome obstacles … but you need to spend that kind of time with your teammates."

Now it's down to cases. This is the last week of the preseason. Will this be the week Smith and the Jaguars come to some kind of an arrangement that will return the star wide receiver to the practice field?

Maybe only Smith knows.

"It's a critical week. I'd love to have Jimmy Smith in here. Hopefully, they're talking. Three weeks ago it wasn't that urgent. It's pretty urgent right now," quarterback Mark Brunell said.

Clearly, Brunell has a vested interest in Smith's holdout. With Smith not in the lineup, Brunell has been unable to move the first-team offense to a touchdown in three preseason games.

How would Smith's return change the landscape of the Jaguars passing game?

"He's a threat. He has the ability run right by you. He's a big-play guy you have to respect. Very few corners can match him head on," Brunell explained.

Meanwhile, Coughlin is dealing with other personnel decisions that have to be made. He cut 13 players today, in advance of the NFL's four p.m. deadline on Tuesday. At that time, NFL rosters have to be at 65 players, though the Jaguars' eight NFL Europe exemptions will allow them 73 roster spots. The Jaguars are currently at 75.

Waived in the first mandatory cut of the summer are quarterback Roderick Robinson, running back Adam Tate, fullback Tevita Ofahengaue, wide receivers Kendall Newson and Ellis Spears, tight end Ryan Prince, guard Chrys Bullock, defensive linemen Donald Broomfield, Jovon Bush and Matt Sweeney, linebacker Victor Ellis, cornerback Jermaine Chatman and kicker Derek Schorejs. Newson, a seventh-round pick, becomes the first of Jaguars' 2002 draft class to be cut.

This was once the most active week of trading, as teams attempted to move players before final cuts. But Coughlin says almost nothing is happening on the trading front.

"There's not a lot of talk. There's hardly anything. The salary cap hit for trading has almost eliminated trades," Coughlin said.

On the injury front, Coughlin announced that an MRI has diagnosed linebacker T.J. Slaughter to have suffered a dislocated elbow in Friday's 24-16 win over the Chicago Bears. Slaughter is likely to be lost for four weeks.

Coughlin also addressed his team's kicking game, which rests in the hands of rookie Hayden Epstein this week. Epstein missed from 40 yards Friday, then made a 45-yarder. That leaves Epstein three of six in the preseason, which hasn't pleased Coughlin.

"That doesn't preclude something being done in the cut to 53," Coughlin said of having cut Schorejs and leaving the kicking chores to Epstein. "What disappoints me more is the kickoffs. The kid's got a very strong leg."

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