Jimmy Smith To See ‘Considerable Time’

UPDATE: Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano says the first-round pick will see a “considerable amount of time.”

Posted by Garrett Downing on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Categories: Garrett Downing, Week 11 vs Bengals

UPDATE: Ravens fans clamoring to see more playing time for first-round pick Jimmy Smith will likely get their wish this weekend.

“He’ll see a considerable amount of time,” Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano told reporters on Thursday. “We’ve got to get him out there and get him going, so yeah he’s ready.”

ORIGINAL: The first time the Baltimore Ravens first-round pick Jimmy Smith came into the team’s facility after the 2011 draft, he met with Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano.

They talked about the season and expectations. They also talked about another rookie, a wide receiver that the Bengals drafted in the first round.

“Who just got A.J. Green?” Pagano asked Smith. “Yeah, Cinci. They’re in our division. We got ‘em twice a year. So you know who’s going on A.J.?  Can you handle that? Do you want that?”

Smith answered “yes” to all three questions.

“That’s why you’re here,” Pagano told him.

Sunday is the first time the Ravens will face Cincinnati this season, meaning it’s the first time that Smith has the chance to match up opposite of Green, who was the first wide receiver taken in the draft.

“At some point will he get matched up against that guy? Yeah, probably,” Pagano said earlier this week.

Will that happen on Sunday?

“It’s probably too early to even go there,” Pagano said, not giving up too much information.

Green hyperextended his knee in last week’s game against Pittsburgh and missed the second half. On Wednesday, he told reporters that he will be a game-time decision against Baltimore.

Whether Smith guards Green this weekend, the Ravens coaching staff is focused on getting their first-round pick more involved in game action. He missed five games after suffering a high ankle sprain on the opening kickoff of the season, and has been eased back into the lineup, playing only special teams and on dime packages.

 “It’s certainly time; we got to get him going,” Pagano said. “He was our number one pick for a reason.”

With Smith limited through the first half of the season, the Ravens turned to Ladarius Webb and Cary Williams to start at cornerback. Both have played well, and the Ravens have allowed the fewest passing touchdowns (6) in the NFL and are sixth-best in passing yards (194.3) allowed per game.

Their play has given the Ravens time to allow Smith to fully recover from the injury, as opposed to rushing him back into action. Inserting Smith into the starting lineup, however, means less time for Webb or Williams.

“We have a really good secondary, so it’s not like you can just sit a guy down because there’s always give and take with that,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. “I would expect Jimmy’s role to continue to expand because he’s doing a really nice job.”

Whoever ends up guarding Green will have a tough task ahead of him. Green ranks 13th in the NFL in receiving yards (633) and has six touchdowns on the year. He has quickly developed into Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton’s favorite target and the premier weapon in Cincinnati’s offense.

“He’s amazing,” Pagano said. “He’s a big, long athletic guy that can beat you over the top. He can run after the catch. He’s a dangerous, dangerous guy.

“He’s going to be a perennial Pro Bowl player, in my opinion.”

Smith and Green faced each other once in college, when Smith was at Colorado and Green at Georgia.

The stat sheet shows that Green got the best of Colorado, catching seven passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

But none of those catches came against Smith.

Georgia worked to get Green lined up on the far side of Smith, who primarily played right cornerback, exploiting mismatches against the other defensive backs. Green had a big day, but Colorado ended up winning the game.

“I’ve played against him before, so I know the type of skill and talent he brings to the game,” Smith said. “I know that playing against a guy like that you’re going to have your hands full.”

Smith said he hopes to line up across from Green, but that’s no different from his mindset going into every game.

“I hope I get a chance to get on the field every week,” Smith said. “Not just against him, but just period. That’s where my mindset is at. Just getting on the field and making sure I give the coaches no reason not to put me on the field.”

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