JACKSONVILLE – Dawuane Smoot's not giving up on the 2022 season.
The Jaguars' defensive lineman, one of the most tenured players on a young and improving team, says he's far from alone on that front. And the '22 season?
Despite the Jaguars' struggles in recent weeks, Smoot said it's far from over.
"We've just got to stay together," he said.
Smoot, a sixth-year veteran currently tied for the team lead in sacks, joined senior writer John Oehser for this 2022 Week 9 O-Zone Podcast as the Jaguars (2-6) prepared to play the Las Vegas Raiders (2-5) at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday at 1 p.m.
He discussed multiple topics, including why he believes the Jaguars can start winning despite a five-game losing streak – and why he believes 2022 is different than recent Jaguars seasons.
"There have been a whole lot of ups and downs this year," Smoot said. "But the one thing that's been consistent is we've been in every single one of these games. We've either lost by three points or less than a touchdown. That's different than any other year.
"I feel like we've got a lot to look forward to. As long as we're able to finish games and win a couple more, I feel like we'll be in a good place."
Smoot, a third-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, has been with the organization longer than any active player except center/guard Tyler Shatley (2014) and left tackle Cam Robinson – the latter of whom was drafted a few hours before Smoot in 2017. He has seen multiple directions for the franchise during his career, and said he likes the current course under Doug Pederson – who took over as the Jaguars' head coach in early February.
"It's been a rollercoaster the last six years," Smoot said. "I've been through three coaching changes and all the different things and a lot of turmoil. But this year I feel like it's a lot of positives. There are a lot of good things going.
"The culture change has been since Day 1. Since Doug came in, he instilled that in us immediately – that we have to come out and win. We practice hard and make sure we're preparing to win each week. That's the thing he kept saying – that we have to be prepared.
"That's one thing that's different for sure."