JACKSONVILLE – His long wait is nearer an end.
DaVon Hamilton on Thursday moved closer to returning to the Jaguars' active roster, with the team announcing that it has placed the veteran defensive tackle on the Reserve/Injured Designated for Return List.
Hamilton has been on injured reserve with a back issue since shortly after the Jaguars set their 53-player regular season roster entering Week 1.
"It's nice," Hamilton said Thursday afternoon as the Jaguars (3-2) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (3-2) in an AFC South game at EverBank Stadium Sunday at 1 p.m. "I've kind of been away for a while and being able to step back on the field with the guys and kind of get immersed in what they're doing is a big blessing for me."
The Jaguars last week opened the 21-day window for defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot to return. Smoot has been on the Physically Unable to Perform list since the beginning of training camp after sustaining an Achilles injury last December.
"It's just really good to almost be at full strength," defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell said.
Hamilton, a third-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, signed a contract extension this past offseason. Thursday was his first practice since he participated in a joint practice against the Detroit Lions in mid-August.
"You got a guy that played great for us last year, and unfortunately he had to miss some time," Caldwell said. "To open up his window and get a chance to get him back and just see his face out there. He has been sitting in meetings. Just being able to get him out on the field I think will be a big boost for the for the team."
Smoot, a seventh-year veteran, has practiced full this week after practicing limited last week and not playing in a victory over the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday. Head Coach Doug Pederson said this week Smoot could play against the Colts.
"Smoot is good," Caldwell said. "He's out there, he's smiling, he's running around and he's getting back accustomed to playing football. It's tough when you're unable to do what you love to do and I'm just excited for him that he's able to be back with us. If he's able to go this week, that's fine. If he's not, we'll wait until he is ready to go and let him go at it."
- The Jaguars through five games rank 26th in the NFL in sacks with nine. While the Jaguars for the most part have pressured quarterbacks consistently, and while they forced five holding penalties in sack-free game against the Bills this past Sunday, Caldwell said "We just have to continue to work on finishing." Caldwell added, "The guys are doing it. Hopefully that will turn around for us. The sack is really the stat that you want to get, but at the end of the day as a coach, you really look at how you affected the quarterback. Was he comfortable back there or was he moving around and uncomfortable? You can tell by completion percentage sometimes, then the feel of the game. I think we're making guys uncomfortable. We just have to do a little extra and get that sack." The Jaguars are ninth in the NFL in pressure percentage according to Pro Football Reference.
- The Jaguars could start their third offensive line combination in as many games Sunday. They started Anton Harrison at right tackle, Brandon Scherff at right guard, Luke Fortner at center, Ben Bartch at left guard and Walker Little at left tackle through the first three games. Tyler Shatley then started for Bartch at left guard with the others staying the same in a Week 4 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Cam Robinson started at left tackle with Little starting at left guard this past Sunday in a Week 5 victory over Buffalo. With Little not practicing Wednesday or Thursday with a knee injury, Shatley could start at left guard with Robinson at left tackle Sunday. "Honestly, that's just life in the NFL," offensive coordinator Press Taylor said. "To be healthy throughout the offensive line throughout a season is rare. That doesn't happen often. This is something we've always tried to prepare for with guys moving in and out [during practice]. There's a lot of comfort in knowing who you're playing next to, communicating with the guy next to you for the long haul. Guys are on the same page, see it the same way, hear the same voice. That's obviously valuable, but that's just not real. That doesn't happen often enough. You're always kind of prepared for that shuffle."
- Little and wide receiver Zay Jones missed practiced with knee injuries for a second consecutive day, with Pederson on Wednesday calling both "day-to-day." Smoot and Robinson (elbow) practiced full for a second consecutive day. Linebacker Devin Lloyd (hamstring) and cornerback Christian Braswell (hamstring) practiced limited for a second consecutive day.