Sep 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Daryl Smith (51) after catching a pass in the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders recovered the fumble. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
While C.J. Mosley has garnered much of the attention at middle linebacker – and deservingly so – Smith has been the unheralded leader of the Ravens defense. Smith has always been an underrated player, but this season you can’t deny the numbers. Smith leads the team with 34 tackles, 20 of which are solo. His game against the Steelers was his best yet, recording 13 tackles and a sack.
What makes Smith unique is that he makes plays, but does it quietly. He doesn’t own a stat sheet or talk like Ray Lewis did manning the middle of the defense, but he gets the job done. John Harbaugh has frequently praised his middle linebacker for his efforts.
The Ravens didn’t expect to be in this 1-3 hole, but you have to take into consideration that they have played some pretty good offenses. Yes, I am including the Raiders in the good offense discussion. Derek Carr and Amari Cooper are going to make a lot of defenses look bad for the foreseeable future.
The defense hasn’t looked great on the field so far, but the linebackers have done their part. Baltimore has a terrific duo in the middle in Smith and Mosley. It would be no surprise if either takes the crown once the season ends.
Next: The Offensive Rookie of the Year