Bengals High 5: Five questions with Chris Smith

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Chris Smith #94 of the Cincinnati Bengals sacks Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium on September 14, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Chris Smith #94 of the Cincinnati Bengals sacks Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium on September 14, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

It’s been more than five years since the Cincinnati Bengals played a regular-season game in Jacksonville, but for defensive end Chris Smith, the memories of north Florida are much fresher.

The Jaguars drafted Smith in the fifth round in 2014, but he appeared in just 19 games in his first three seasons. In April, Jacksonville traded Smith to the Bengals for a conditional 2018 draft pick.

Smith entered training camp as a long shot to make the roster, but he had a strong preseason with two sacks and another handful of pressures. And he’s continued to play a role in the defensive-line rotation, playing both as an end and tackle while recording 1.5 sacks and 14 tackles.

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With starting defensive end Michael Johnson leaving Sunday's win against Indianapolis with a back injury, Smith played a season-high 34 snaps and had the key pressure on Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett on the game-clinching incompletion.

Smith talked about his new role and heading back to Jacksonville as part of this week’s Cincinnati Bengals High 5:

Q: Why didn't it work in Jacksonville?

A: I don't know. They gave me an opportunity. They drafted me. At the end of the day it's a business. No hard feelings. I wouldn't be in the NFL but the Jacksonville Jaguars drafted me. It was messed up, or whatever. I'm here now. I just play the cards I'm dealt. (The trade) was shocking. It was like getting drafted all over again. It's fun. I've been here and playing. Stuff didn't work out there. No hard feelings.

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Q: Are you starting to miss the weather down there with it getting colder here?

A: A little bit. Not a lot. I'm getting used to it. I can handle the cold. It's just the wind that is so crucial. But it's going to be hot down there. We've got to get used to that. I miss the people down there. I had some family down there in Florida. I have a little bit of family here. I'd say (I miss) the seafood, too. The seafood is real good. Real good.

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Q: What's it been like being one of the older guys and playing with rookies Carl Lawson, Jordan Willis and Ryan Glasgow on this defensive line?

A: I mean they're just freaks. Carl's ability and stuff like that, and Jordan is like the the smooth one. You never know what move he's going to hit. He's so smooth with it. I think Jordan is more of a rusher like Carlos, using his length and stuff like that. He always keeps the offensive line guessing because he's so smooth. He'll hit you with a spin or a long arm or a swipe. I call him J-Smooth because he's smooth with his pass rush moves.

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Q: Obviously you don't event want a teammate to get hurt, but are you excited about the chance to get even more snaps against your former team with Michael Johnson dealing with a back injury?

A: Unfortunately injuries are a part of our business and it's the nature (of it). I texted Mike. That's one guy that's really been helping me with the inside role, because I never played inside before. I played a little bit at Jacksonville but it was always on stunts. I was basically asked to be like a D-tackle down there. So Mike has helped me tremendously. And Carlos (Dunlap) and Geno (Atkins) have helped me tremendously inside. So that's one thing about it, if I'm asked to play more snaps if he's out or whatever, I'll just go out there and play to the best of my ability.

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Q: What's been working for you to give you success as an inside rusher?

A: I think first off, when you play end, you can mostly just go. Inside you've got to know the protections and everything like that because if you don't know the protection, I mean you'll run into a brick wall most of the time. It's just using my speed, just trying to move the guard's feet and stuff like that, and correct in space. Guards don't like that, when you correct space and have them on island. That's one thing about it, trying to use my speed and beat their feet.

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