While he wasn’t selected as the Baltimore Ravens‘ team MVP by the media for his efforts during the 2013 NFL season, cornerback Jimmy Smith has made a tremendous impact on this team that showed in Baltimore’s last meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals which resulted in a 20-17 overtime victory for home team.
Here are Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green‘s statistics from the game: eight catches, 151 yards receiving and one touchdown — Hail Mary reception caused by a James Ihedigbo deflection.
Of those statistics, here are Green’s numbers when he was covered by the former 2011 first-round pick: one target, zero receptions.
The 25-year-old has been a stalwart defensively more often than not in the Ravens’ secondary, and his emergence in the second half of the season has caused his critics of years past to be silenced. A physical 6-foot-2, 200-pound corner who has declared in the past that he wasn’t a fan of press coverage is using his size and athleticism with that particular technique and has seen great results arise. When a cornerback only has one interception through the first 15 games of a season, there’s a combination of either his hands aren’t good enough, he isn’t seeing the field with great regularity or opposing quarterbacks simply aren’t throwing in his direction.
Watching Smith this season has shown more of the third answer as team’s have been attacking Lardarius Webb due to his size constraints, but his performances have been more up-and-down than Smith’s. When Smith was coming out and declared for the NFL Draft, talent was never an issue with him. He was criticized for not being enough of a go-getter in terms of snagging interceptions, and his questionable character issues that could potentially scare away suitors ultimately cost him some dollars on his annual salary.
The Ravens are one of the best organizations in football in dealing with the character complaints from previous coaches, so general manager Ozzie Newsome took the chance as he knew it was something head coach John Harbaugh could handle. Smith has served more as a nickel back and a special teams player more so than a defensive stud in his first two NFL seasons, but he has made some clutch plays when his team needed him most. That’s why no one in the organization gave up on a guy who has probably had the biggest turnaround in terms of overall performance on the entire club.
Remember the end of Super Bowl XLVII? That was Jimmy Smith stopping San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
Remember midway through the fourth quarter in the 2011 AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots? That was Jimmy Smith getting his team the ball back with a chance to tie and/or win the football game.
This guy isn’t afraid of the big stage and must show that once again if the Ravens are not to only keep their playoff hopes alive but also be the spoiler in what would be an undefeated regular season at home for the Bengals.