As we already viewed in Week 1, a final comeback shorted by a single A.J. Green catch robbed Baltimore of a 1-0 start. During that play, Baltimore had Chykie Brown defending Green. Dean Pees opted to throw our CB4 on the Ravens' depleted corner back depth, to play not only the WR1 on the Bengal roster, but a top five wide receiver in the NFL.
Brown is not the man to call on with the game on the line against the division winners last year. You place Jimmy Smith in a press man cover, and have him blanket Green and shut down the most blatantly obvious offensive weapon that Andy Dalton utilizes. When Dalton snaps the ball, I guarantee that he is searching for any window to throw 18 the ball in; Smith boards up those windows.
Smith had proven last year through a rigorous trial by fire defending the biggest name wide receivers in the league: Green, Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson, Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown. Smith left a stat sheet that looked something straight from Madden. He never allowed a single touchdown, and during strict man defense against Calvin Johnson, left Megatron unable to transform with only two catches for nine yards. Smith dominated every matchup. He had proven he could be the premier cornerback to this team. He could even challenge Joe Haden to a best corner in the AFC North division. Why would you not utilize this?
During the 26-6 routing Baltimore delivered Thursday to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Smith shadowed Steelers star receiver Antonio Brown. During the game, Smith and the Baltimore defense really locked away Brown only letting him finish the night with seven receptions for 90 yards and 2 rushes for 10 yards.
During the last series of the game, Smith was no longer covering Brown, who then gained 39 yards and allowed the Steelers to move the chains until a Haloti Ngata diving interception, snuffing out any hope for victory. Essentially, Smith held Antonio Brown to 51 yards. With Thursday's showing, the less Ben Roethlisberger could rely on his best wide receiver, forced him to make more reads, allowing the Baltimore defense to better cover the rest of the offense, get to the quarterback, take away the run, not allow a touchdown, and force more turnovers.
Have Smith cover the best guys, press them up, and blanket these stars. It was clearly the intention when drafting him in the first round. His prototypical measurements for the press man cover corner were the basis of the 27th overall pick.