J. Smith Believes He Can Start Week 1

First-round CB Jimmy Smith matched up with Anquan Boldin in his first NFL practice.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Friday, July 29th, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Categories: 2011 Training Camp, Ryan Mink

Rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith was so eager for his first practice that when teammates returned from Thursday’s opening Ravens training camp session talking about how much they ran, Smith decided he should go for a two-mile run at 10 p.m. just to keep up.
Smith, along with all NFL rookies, has a lot of catching up to do because of the lockout, which zapped their offseason activities and made the learning curve that much steeper.
But according to Smith, it’s not hindering him. He still believes he can be a starter on Week 1.
“I totally think so,” Smith said. “I’ve got a lot of work to do, but I definitely feel I can be a starter.”
Before signing his contract Friday morning, Smith has been learning the Ravens’ defense in the classroom. On the field, he was frequently guided by fellow cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Domonique Foxworth. Linebackers Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis even imparted some advice.
The Colorado product feels that he’s picking it up quickly, saying it’s similar to the defenses he ran in college.
“The schemes, to me, are simple,” Smith said. “In meeting rooms, we’re going through the defense fairly rapid. I see it and I just get it.”
Smith got a playbook soon after being drafted as he was permitted to briefly report to the Ravens’ training facility to meet coaches and the press. He said he studied it a great deal for about three weeks, but it was difficult not being able to take what he learned onto the field.
Now that’s over, and Smith is trying to fulfill grand expectations of being a “shutdown corner.”
Smith showed up to his first practice looking just as physically impressive as advertised. He towered over Baltimore’s other cornerbacks and drew matchups with the likes of Anquan Boldin and fellow rookie Torrey Smith.
“I think I did pretty good for the first day,” Jimmy said. “I don’t know if everybody was tired, but it was not fast for me.”
Head Coach John Harbaugh also gave his assessment of Smith’s first day.
“I think he’s got a ways to go, just in a lot of ways,” he said. “But we’ve got a lot of work in front of us in camp. Obviously, he’s got all the tools. He’s got a really good attitude, is a hard worker. I think he’s got to learn how to be a pro and I’m very certain that he can do that.”
The first thing Smith noticed was the physicality of NFL receivers. He dished it right back, once so much that Secondary Coach Teryl Austin reminded him that he could only jam a receiver once within five yards.
“Usually in college, receivers want to juke you and get off the line,” the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Smith said. “These receivers run right into you and throw you off them. For me, I like it. I like the physicality.”
Torrey got the best of Jimmy on one deep pass. Jimmy was tight in coverage, but the lofted pass fell right over Torrey’s shoulder for a long gain.
“We’re going to be having that matchup for a while, so I’m going to get used to him real quick,” Jimmy said with a grin. “[There will be] a little rivalry between us both being [named] James Smith. We’ll fight for the name.”

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