The first two years of his career in Tampa Bay (2014 and 2015) were very kind to Jacquies Smith, and now he'll try to recapture some of that magic in Oakland.
After entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Smith got his first taste of NFL action in 2014 appearing in 15 regular season games, totaling an impressive 6.5 sacks in the process. The next year was equally as fruitful for the former Missouri Tiger – he had seven sacks in 2015 – but since that point, Smith has yet to tally another sack.
Now, health assuredly played a role in that, but after signing with the Oakland Raiders Monday, Smith is eager to get back to doing what he does best – get after the quarterback.
"I'm going to be the best Jacquies Smith, and that's my goal, to go out there and produce, and do it fast, and do it quickly," Smith said Monday. "And finish up this back half of the season showing everybody exactly what I can do."
It's been a whirlwind 24 hours for the athletic defensive end, and with just six days until the Silver and Black return to game action, the whirlwind will likely continue, but that's fine with Smith.
"Just coming in, diving right into the playbook, getting stuff down," he explained. "Obviously, we'll see where we're at, at the end of the week as far as my familiarity with things, and how quickly I can pick things up, and be able to produce quickly, not just to come in and kind of wait around, I'm sure they want to plug and play."
It's no secret that the Raiders have struggled to get after the quarterback in 2018 – their seven sacks are the fewest in the NFL – so if all goes to plan, Smith will infuse some energy into a group that is still finding its collective way.
"Obviously, I have a ton of confidence in myself," Smith said. "Obviously, I've made a ton of plays in this league, just getting back and getting that opportunity to be able to do that, man, I'm very confident in my ability. These guys see something in me, coming up here and giving me a shot to go out here and do what I do. Me? Me personally, I have a ton of confidence in myself, for sure."
He continued, "This scheme, this 4-3 scheme, I have a lot of familiarity in it. I played in the 4-3 my whole career, it's where I made a ton of plays at, now it's just on me to go out there and produce, and put it on the field."
After signing with the Raiders Monday, Smith went to work in short order, and although the Raiders currently sit six games under .500, No. 93 felt a collective positive energy when he hit the practice field.
"Guys are excited," Smith said. "You hear Coach Gruden back there fired up. Everybody on this team is excited, man, besides the record, you know? When you go out there and practice, man, you have to love playing football. That's the first thing. If you don't love playing football you're not going to have a chance on Sundays, honestly, and the guys are excited. Everybody's diving in. It doesn't seem like anybody's quitting or anything of that nature. You have to love football. Every opportunity you get, you have to cherish it, because I know firsthand, coming from where I've been, been at the top, and now I'm trying to work myself back up to be the player that I was. You have to cherish this thing."
Kickoff against the Los Angeles Chargers is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.