Jimmy Smith has once again succumbed to injury. Ravens fans have to wonder if he is the Bo Jackson of cornerbacks: A super athlete whose body simply cannot support him.
Enter Marlon Humphrey. While he does not have Jimmy Smith's sheer size, his mesurables are off the charts, proven by his testing in SPARQ's 85th percentile. Humphrey's only knock coming out of Alabama was his tracking of the deep ball. His Achilles heel was on full exhibition this past Sunday. Dean Pees adjusted late in the fourth quarter and Humphrey's interception came as part of a bracket coverage with Eric Weddle that allowed the former to trail the play.
The gameplan against Pittsburgh should emphasize double coverages with trail techniques. It is standard procedure when Antonio Brown is involved but with Humphrey being thrust into the starting role, there should not be a snap of man coverage that would put him on an island against the league's premier wide receiver.
More two deep coverages will lighten the box against Le'Veon Bell. Stress will be put on the Ravens defensive line. But with the investments that have been made and the line's overall play with Brandon Williams, they should be expected to handle it.
Humphrey has a ton of ability but it has yet to be harnessed. The Ravens would be wise to avoid putting him in situations where he is bound to fail.