Ravens top corner Jimmy Smith will miss the rest of the season with a torn Achilles. Smith had been playing at his highest ever level, and his loss is brutal to a Ravens defense that has been playing so well this season.
Losing Smith is a situation the Ravens have found themselves in time and time again. Just last year, the Raven were in the thick of the playoff hunt. Smith suffered an injuy against the Patriots, and the Ravens lost. Smith would then miss a critical game against the Steelers and the Ravens lost that game too. Smith’s injury very well may have cost the Ravens a playoff spot a year ago.
Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens knew a scenario like this was possible, and they made sure to be prepared for it. Not only has losing Smith hurt the Ravens in the past, but the team hasn’t had the depth to compensate for it.
This year, the depth is there. The Ravens signed Brandon Carr this offseason to be the starting corner across from Smith. The Ravens had to add a reliable corner across from Smith, as in past years, not only had Smith suffered injuries, but the player stepping into his role wasn’t good enough. Adding Carr eliminated that concern.
However, adding Carr wasn’t the most important move the Ravens made this offseason to prepare for this situation. It was drafting Marlon Humphrey. The Humphrey pick didn’t seem like the best idea at the time. It was hard to pass up on O.J. Howard.
This season, Humphrey has excelled in his role spelling Carr and Smith. On many teams, Humphrey would have been a starter.
With Smith gone for the year, Humphrey will now be thrust into a starting role. Humphrey struggled at times against the Lions deep balls, but he made the game sealing interception. Humphrey now has a pick in two straight games.
Drafting Humphrey gives the Ravens the depth at cornerback that they have lacked for some many years. The Ravens wanted to make sure that they had multiple starting caliber cornerbacks just in case something happened to Smith.
It was a move that looks like it will pay off. Unlike a year ago where Smith’s injury spelled the end of the season, there is still hope because of the depth. That’s not to say the Ravens won’t be hurt by Smith’s injury, as shown during Stafford’s streak of 20 consecutive completed passes, but there is still hope for success with the amount of talent in the secondary.
Loading up in the secondary may have seen excessive at the time, but it’s paying off now. The Ravens did what was necessary to be prepared for this worst case scenario.