Leading up to the Ravens Week 3 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, one of the most burning questions is how the Ravens secondary will fare. In Week 1, they did a great job of holding the Bills in check, only allowing 111 passing yards. However, Ravens top corner Jimmy Smith allowed Sammy Watkins to be run himself wide open several times. The secondary as whole, not just Smith, let Corey Coleman run free downfield in the first quarter of the Ravens Week 2 matchup. This week, the Ravens find themselves facing a truly elite passing team. Blake Bortles has two great targets in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. Robinson is one of the best receivers in the NFL, and it is fair to question if Jimmy Smith will be able to cover Robinson.
Last season when the Jaguars faced the Ravens, Robinson went for 51 yards and a touchdown on five catches. Similar production should be expected for Robinson, as that may only be his floor. On his fantasy outlook for the week, ESPN wrote,
Robinson is also ranked as the fifth best fantasy receiver option for Week 3. That ranking is definitely justified. After seeing Coleman rip the Jimmy Smith and the Ravens to shreds, there is no reason to believe a more talented receiver like Robinson cannot have a big day as well. Robinson is still due for his first touchdown of the season, and don’t be surprised if he is able to snag that elusive score against Baltimore.
But this is the kind of matchup that the Ravens paid Smith for. Smith, despite his struggles at times, is the Ravens number one corner for a reason. Does Smith have the ability to keep Robinson from having an impact? Absolutely. If Smith is able to do so, the Ravens will likely move to 3-0.
Smith would be smart to study film from the Week 2 matchup between the Chargers and Jaguars. In that game, Jason Verrett virtually shut down Robinson. The Chargers pass rush was spectacular in the win over the Jaguars, which in turn greatly helped the secondary. The Ravens could easily use replicate that same game plan. The Ravens have proven to have one the best pass rushes in the NFL. If they are able to get to Bortles quickly, then Robinson won’t have enough time to create space for himself. If the Ravens can execute their game plan, then Smith will have a much easier time keeping Robinson near him.
These however, are big "ifs." Allen Robinson is a great receiver and writing about ways to slow him is much easier than actually doing it. This is a great test for Smith and the Ravens secondary, as it only gets tougher from here. Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, and Odell Beckham Jr. all loom as big time receivers that Smith will have to work against this season (and that is failing to mention Amari Cooper, Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, oh yeah, and possiblyCorey Coleman again). We will know a lot more about this Ravens defense after this one.