Jimmy Smith got off to a slow start as a rookie, getting hurt in his first game and missing time before returning to the lineup. He struggled at times for a few weeks before playing much better in the second half of 2011.
The Ravens are hoping that the 2012 becomes somewhat of a repeat of that.
Smith's struggled at times this year but continued to improve recently. He played better in Sunday's win in Cleveland, and the Ravens need his help in the second half of the season as he's stepping in for the injured Lardarius Webb, out for the year with a knee injury.
Coach John Harbaugh talked with the media on Monday on how he likes what he's seeing from Smith and hopes that the second-year cornerback can keep getting better and help the secondary, which struggled throughout the first half of the season.
Harbaugh also understands Smith and what he's going through since he dealt with it himself in younger days.
"Jimmy Smith can be a difference-maker as the season goes on," Harbaugh said Monday. "He made plays yesterday, he’s physical, and he’s another guy that’s only going to get better the more he plays. He didn’t play that much last year, and he’s starting to play more regularly now. So, you talk about Cary [Williams] … Jimmy is another guy, to use the term loosely … I’m an old corner; if you can even call it that. But I love those guys. Those guys are on the island, man. It’s a tough position to play; they’re always scrutinized. And we have two very good corners.”
Now, it will be interesting to see what Smith can do in the second half of the season. He made more plays last year in the second half, and it would help the Ravens if Smith could do that again.
Football is back in session for the Ravens.
Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.
The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.
This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief.
Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011.
Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason.
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There's only six months until the NFL playoffs and we've got no time to waste.
OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves but online betting site, Oddshark, released their early 2018 NFL playoff odds and the Ravens are in a similar situation as previous years.
The Ravens are sitting at +135 — tied for 13th with the San Francisco 49ers — for the best odds to play January football. This would place them in the seventh seed among AFC teams and just outside contention.
The Patriots (-1500), Steelers (-550), Chargers (-145), Jaguars (-140), Texans (-135), and Chiefs (+120) are seeded above them respectively.
During the 2017 season, the Ravens were constantly in the hunt for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Several weeks ahead of training camp, Vegas is predicting that to be the case in 2018.
Playoff odds in July mean nothing, but considering their offseason changes, the Ravens' 2018 season should bring positive change.
They added weapons for Joe Flacco in free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, and drafted tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.
Then there was the late first-round draft pick of QB Lamar Jackson. Flacco remains the starter for now, but it will be interesting to see if that changes midway through the season or if they get them both on the field at the same time.
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