Today we get to discuss the Ravens with Riley Babcock, Editor of Ebony Bird–The Fansided site dedicated to bringing the best Ravens coverage online.
I’ve gotta tell you, Riley did a great job on this because I feel like I walked away much more informed on the Ravens.
1. Alright, first off I want to talk about Jimmy Smith. I love that guy! (Jon Gruden impersonation). I really think that Smith should have been considered a top-10 talent. If you watch any of his college tape, it’s easy to see that he excelled in man coverage. Also, the bit about him being better than Asomugha really got overblown. He only said “better hands”. So, how has Smith (the supposed bad character guy) affected the guys in the locker room and how has his play looked?
To be honest, I wasn’t huge on Jimmy Smith when the Ravens drafted him but my mind started to change after looking at his upside. The “character issues” don’t worry me at all considering what immense talent he has. Smith wants and loves to play football and that’s what’s most important. I can’t see him getting out of line on a team that has the kind of leadership the Ravens does. He’s been fine so far and I saw a mature young man during interviews. I don’t think he will become a problem.Jimmy Smith was injured in week one on the opening kickoff and will miss this week which is disappointing to see. He had a great camp and looked to jump into a starting position. This injury will put him back but I expect to see him play in a few weeks. He made some typical rookie mistakes in preseason but showed that he’s an athlete and can keep up with the pace of the NFL. We won’t know for sure until he comes back from his injury but I’m interested to see how he performs.
I’ve been honest with my opinion of Joe Flacco and perhaps too critical at times. Though my mind about him has changed this season. He’s really stepped into a leadership role during this offseason. I saw that during preseason and week one. That’s what’s been lacking from him and if he can emerge as a team leader, the Ravens will have a solid football team for many years to come. I can’t see Flacco ever becoming an elite quarterback like Brady or Manning but I’d take him any day over half of the quarterbacks in this league. Re-signing him is a priority for the Ravens and I think he will become their franchise quarterback.
One guy who doesn’t get a lot of credit is Jarret Johnson. He’s the Ravens outside linebacker and is also one of the most underrated players in the NFL. He’s a versatile guy who can rush off the edge but is athletic enough to cover tightends. He’s also incredibly instinctive. If you didn’t see his hit on Hines Ward last week, go check it out to see what I mean.
This is the most balanced WR corp the Ravens have ever had. Anquan Boldin is the big and tough possession receiver who can run across the field but also has the ability to run deep. The newly acquired Lee Evans is the speedster that will keep the defense honest. We saw that last week as Lee Evans opened up the playbook and allowed several passes underneath. Even if he doesn’t have a reception, his presence is enough to make an impact. The rookies Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss may see some action too. They’re the rookie versions of Lee Evans and Anquan Boldin respectively. Torrey Smith is extremely fast and may be the Ravens deep threat receiver of the future while Tandon Doss is a possession receiver that is athletic enough to make big plays.
I can’t really answer that question without seeing them play another game. Teams change every year and a 12-4 team can easily become a 4-12 team. Based on what we are used to seeing from the Ravens and Steelers, The Steelers played terrible and the Ravens were clicking on all cylinders. We’ve seen the Ravens do that before but consistency has been the problem. When they’re on, they’re unstoppable and we’ve witnessed that in years past. The Steelers looked pathetic on all sides of the ball and I find it hard to believe that they will continue that trend for the whole season. We’ll know for sure after week two. If the Ravens continue to play like they did last week, then maybe they are the real deal. If the Steelers get killed by the Seahawks, maybe their league supremacy is coming to an end. I can’t base that decision off of one week, but in that particular game, it was yes and yes to your questions.
This should be a good game, until the Ravens run away with it. If the Titans can keep their own offense on the field and force turnovers from the Ravens offense, they might have a chance at the end.