For the past two seasons, the Baltimore Ravens have relied on the health of one player - Jimmy Smith. Next to quarterback Joe Flacco and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, Smith has been the guy Baltimore could not afford to lose. When Smith goes down, the Ravens secondary and pass defense become a shadow of themselves. It also often foreshadows blown leads and constant miscommunication due to not having their number one cornerback on the field.
Injuries have been a massive problem for Smith over the course of his six-year career. Smith missed 17 games from 2014-2017. In 2015, Smith actually played a full season, which was the second time in his career he was able to accomplish that feat. Last year however, the Ravens lost Smith due to a torn Achilles he suffered in a Week 13 matchup with the Detroit Lions. The Ravens won 44-20, but his loss put a damper on one of the Ravens most complete win of the 2017 season.
Now Smith is once again on the mend, as he tries to recover in time for the start of the 2018 season. This will be the third time in four years he’s coming back to training camp off a season-ending injury. Jimmy was able to participate in individual drills back in minicamp. While he wasn’t practicing fully, it was a good sign that he could be ready to go once training camp starts in two weeks.
When will Smith be fully healthy from a serious injury?
A torn Achilles is a big deal. In recent years, the Ravens have dealt with this injury to key players such as Suggs and Steve Smith. For a cornerback, a torn Achilles could take an entire season to fully heal from. There is no guarantee that Smith will be ready to start the year. The Ravens have tried to rely heavily on the health of Smith in the past, and while they’ve complemented him with corners Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr, Smith is quite valuable to the Ravens defense.
The Ravens can’t afford to lose Smith this year, but even when he is on the field, they can’t bet on seeing the player who notched 114 tackles, 23 passes defensed, and six interceptions over the last three seasons. When healthy, Smith is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Probably a little bit underrated as well.
Hopefully for the Ravens, Smith keeps progressing from the Achillies as the season wears on, and they see the best of him come November and December. For now, Humphrey, Carr, and the returning Tavon Young will have to give Smith some breathing room when the regular season begins.