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Jaylon Smith on his role in Wink's defense, fostering defensive chemistry


Inside linebacker Jaylon Smith began the 2022 season without an active NFL affiliation, but halfway through, his trajectory looks entirely different following an impactful first-half performance in Wink Martindale's defense. The six-year NFL veteran joined John Schmeelk on The Giants Huddle podcast to describe the hats he's worn and the intricacies of the one he currently touts.

Smith's 2022 Giants tenure has certainly commanded fanfare, and he accordingly revealed lesser-known history about his relationship to the organization: Smith spent December 2021 as a member of the team's 16-man practice squad. Since then, the club has undergone numerous personnel changes that begins with a Brian Daboll-led coaching staff. Smith identified how the shift encourages players to strive for excellence. "It's just a different vibe – a different energy. I can feel it," he said.

Prior to his Giants tenure and a brief stint at Green Bay, Smith spent five seasons at the Dallas Cowboys, where he wore the coveted green dot to denote his play calling responsibilities. Though relieved of those duties in New York, Smith detailed how he carries attributes of the past with him: "I'm a guy that's a sponge. I'm a natural leader. So, whether I have the green dot or not, the team, the defense will feel my presence. It's something I pride myself on."

Lining up behind defensive powerhouses like Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams and Justin Ellis, Smith continued, adds fuel to the fire. Though the Giants' typical defensive play caller, Xavier McKinney, is sidelined with a hand injury, Smith is confident that the rest of the unit can come together. "We've got to do whatever it takes to get the job done and get the win."

As the defense prepares to face the Houston Texans and looks to take on the strenuous task of stopping rookie running back Dameon Pierce, one thing is certain – Jaylon Smith is the ultimate team player. "I'm thankful for the ability to be out there," he harped.   

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