There is no denying it; the Ravens pass defense has been horrendous in the first half of the 2015 season.
Much blame has been directed toward the secondary through the first eight games. They can’t hold leads late in games. They can’t get off the field on third downs. They can’t create turnovers.
They are the biggest reason that the Ravens are sitting with a 2-6 record.
Many fault defensive coordinator Dean Pees. Others have pointed fingers at starting cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb, both of whom have struggled mightily.
Prior to their match-up against the Chargers, defensive coordinator Dean Pees spoke at the podium about the play of his secondary, specifically what he’s seen from the veteran Jimmy Smith.
“Tentative,” said Pees. “I think he has been tentative and not really letting it go. Whether that’s the injury, whether it’s not, I don’t [know]. Only he can tell you that. But I haven’t seen him quite be the…productive player.
“It’s more a lot of confidence in going up there and [to] really be aggressive. It’s basically at the line of scrimmage, because he’s a big guy, and when he gets his hands on you, he does a great job… I think sometimes he has been a little tentative, and I think he’ll say that, too…I know he’s working hard at it. It’s not like he’s not preparing and all that; he is. They all are.”
Pees’ comments weren’t exactly extreme. Entering week ten, Smith is the 92nd ranked cornerback per the metrics website Pro Football Focus. He has struggled this season.
Following practice on Wednesday, Jimmy Smith met with the media for the first time since returning from the Ravens’ much needed bye week.
When posed with a question regarding Pees’ comments about him playing tentative, Smith appeared displeased, and things got a little awkward.
“Honestly, I don’t even want to … I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know,” Said Smith. The reporter followed up with a legitimate question.
“Do you feel you need to play more aggressively?”
Smith’s response, “I feel like I’ve just got to keep getting better, keep playing my game.” He then walked away from the podium, ending his media session.
Obviously, the question struck a nerve with Smith, who is normally soft-spoken and mild-mannered with the media.
It remains to be seen whether Smith will be more aggressive on Sunday when the Ravens host the Jaguars. Let’s hope his frustration with the comments gives him a spark on the field moving forward.
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