NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that outside linebacker Will Smith is expected to miss the 2013 season with a knee injury, according to a source who spoke with Smith. The injury happened Sunday against the Houston Texans.
It's another punishing blow to a Rob Ryan defense that already has lost outside linebacker Victor Butler and defensive end Kenyon Coleman to likely season-endinginjuries. Inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.
Smith was attempting to make the transition from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker in Ryan's new scheme. He led the team with six sacks last season. At 32, it's possible he's played his final down.
Ryan, meanwhile, must figure out a way to put pressure on the opposing quarterback without his top two pass rushers. Outside linebacker was a position of concern before the injuries. Now it looks like an outright liability.