Ravens will have happy problem when Smith returns

Ravens must figure out how first-round pick Jimmy Smith fits in corner rotation

October 12, 2011|By Mike Preston

It will be interesting to see how the Ravens use rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith once he returns from an ankle injury. Smith hasn't played since the opening kickoff of the first game, and the Ravens have remained silent about if he was going to be the starter for that game. Physically, Smith is the best cornerback on the roster. He has good size and showed his strength early in training camp by going right after veteran Anquan Boldin. He still needs to work on ball awareness skills, but that will come in time with more playing experience.

As the Ravens No. 1 pick in April, it's only a matter of time before Smith works his way into the starting line up.

But when?

Ravens cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams have played well in the first four games, and Williams has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. Webb seems to be on a mission after giving up the big pass play to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a playoff game last season. One of the most impressive things about both of them has been their physical approach. Neither Webb or Williams back down on running plays and come up quickly in run support.

Once Smith's ankle is completely healed, do the Ravens risk messing with the team chemistry or do they stay status quo? And what about nickel back Chris Carr? He is trying to get some playing time as well returning from injury. Smith's return isn't a major concern, and actually it is a good problem for the Ravens to have. Ever since John Harbaugh took over as head coach nearly four years ago, the secondary has always been considered the weak link. At this point, the group is getting stronger, and should only get better when Smith is back on the field.

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