There is a question lingering around Ravens Nation as well as the rest of the league: Is Jimmy Smith now a shutdown corner? I would say so. The Detroit Lions‘ best receiver lined up against the Ravens and had a par night. Calvin Johnson is a complete highlight-reel type receiver, and he only had six catches for 98 yards. This speaks to the type of player Smith is becoming; he is really catching fire and solidifying the Baltimore Ravens’ secondary.
You’re probably thinking Smith still let Johnson get 98 yards on him, but that couldn’t be further from the truth and I’ll explain why. Megatron lined up against Smith in man coverage in 24 passing situations including a two-point conversion attempt and was only able to get 44 yards on the four catches on Smith, with only one big catch for a 21-yard gain. The other 54 yards Johnson got came against James Ihedigbo in cover-2 zone coverage; he preferred to make Johnson pay for the catch with a few big hits versus defending the pass from getting there.
There were two big drops by Johnson with Smith covering that could have gone for huge gains, possibly eliminating this storyline altogether, but I am convinced that it was Smith, not Matt Elam, who got into Megatron’s head with his play and was the cause of these drops. Punishing hits from Ihedigbo over the top helped the situation as well.
I believe Jimmy has a nickname floating around social networks. “Shockwave” is very fitting for a guy who held the NFL’s hands down best receiver without a TD catch because he shocked the world with his aggressiveness, sending a wavering message to the rest of the NFL. You must game plan for the Ravens’ newest shutdown corner.