Come this Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens face off against the current leader of the AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals. This will be a game of position battles; one that will really determine the success of the game will be the battle between Jimmy Smith and A.J. Green. Can Smith contain Green, or will Green have a typical monster-day against the Ravens third-year player? Smith is key in slowing down this dynamic receiver.
Jimmy Smith has come a long way since being drafted in the 2011 NFL draft. Since then, he went from being beat out in the 2011 season for a starting job by Cary Williams, to making the 2012 Super Bowl winning play; Smith stopped San Francisco 49ers’ Michael Crabtree from catching the touchdown on fourth down. Smith is aware that he has plenty to work on in his game. He has worked diligently to get better during the offseason.
Smith’s strength that he needs to be allowed to play is his ability to press. When looking at the college tape of Smith in Colorado, the reason QBs never threw to the former Buffalo’s side of the field is because he literally beat the receiver up at the line, essentially knocking them off of their route. If Smith were to play Green in this manner, it would surely ruin Green’s day. The problem with that is if Green manages to get off of the jam from Smith, he would then have to trust in some top cover from Matt Elam or James Ihedigbo in Cover 2 situations.
Although there will be other battles on the field, this is the one that could definitely determine the outcome of Sunday’s matchup. Hopefully even with all of Green’s talent, he can be contained. This will depend on Smith rising to the occasion and playing slightly above his talent level to match the pure athleticism of A.J. Green.