Jimmy Smith out for year, Ravens Super Bowl chances gone


Sep 7, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) is tackled after a catch by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith (22) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

When the Baltimore Ravens secondary has played even passably well, they have been among the strongest teams in the NFL. With Jimmy Smith gone for the year, though, the Ravens’ best case scenario has gotten a whole heck of a lot worse.

My prevailing analysis on the season has been: “If the Ravens secondary improves to the point of even being average, they are Super Bowl contenders.”

Without Jimmy Smith, improvement in the secondary is a virtual impossibility. Lardarius Webb has looked like a shell of his former self, Danny Gorrer and Asa Jackson are largely unproven and Tramain Jacobs is an undrafted rookie free agent. There is almost no scenario in which that group of corners is anything more than mediocre.

At this point, the Ravens just don’t seem up to the task of defending the likes of Andrew Luck, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning in the playoffs. With the Colts, Broncos and Patriots among the top-three teams in the AFC, the odds of the Ravens being forced to face an elite passing game in the playoffs are basically 100 percent.

Right now, our sample size for playing without Jimmy Smith is small. He was injured against the Cincinnati Bengals, but without A.J. Green, their passing game was not a huge threat. Against the Steelers, though, the Smith-less Ravens’ secondary was completely and utterly toasted.

As for the current Ravens’ flock of cornerbacks, there is no sample size. Tramain Jacobs has never played in a regular season game, and Gorrer has never been anything more than a dime back. Expectations for that duo are modest, but whether or not they will reach them remains a mystery.

All in all, losing Smith is a worst-case scenario for the Ravens. All they can do is continue to fight, hope for a playoff berth (still a very achievable goal) and hope to reload the secondary this offseason.