Daryl Smith: “I’ll Try to Do My Talking With the Pads”

NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Training Camp

During the offseason, the Ravens faced the difficult task of attempting to replace two future first-ballot Hall of Fame players.

Losing Ray Lewis and Ed Reed at the same time is a bitter pill to swallow. Nonetheless, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome did a tremendous job in free agency by replacing experienced veterans with other experienced veterans (albeit not Hall of Fame worthy players).

Prior to signing with Baltimore, Daryl Smith spent his entire 9-year career with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both Smith, who is expected to start at middle linebacker, and Reed’s replacement, former Raiders safety Michael Huff (seven years) spent their entire careers with losing franchises.

For Smith, being in Baltimore is a fresh start.

“Love the environment, great teammates, great coaches, this is a first class organization,” Smith said after a recent practice. “I’m just excited and happy to be here really and be a part of it.”

Smith will provide needed leadership to a very young corps of inside linebackers yet he understands the daunting task ahead — picking up the slack for Lewis, the departed General.

Smith hasn’t spoken to Lewis yet, but even without that connection the underrated linebacker knew he had to disconnect from his old jersey number 52, worn throughout his career as a Jaguar.

“As soon I was signing here, it wasn’t even a question,” Smith said. “Okay, what number is open?” he asked the equipment staff.

“51, that’s fine,” he replied. “Numbers don’t mean nothing to me like that.”

Smith is certainly a little quieter than Lewis when it comes to celebrations and hair-raising stadium entrances. He told me to not expect to see him dancing anytime soon.

“No, that ain’t me,” he said. “We’ll see out on the field. I’ll try to do my talking with the pads.”

Much like Lewis before him, Smith will become the veteran in charge of tutoring the inside linebackers. During the draft, the Ravens traded up six spots to select Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown in the second round (56th overall).

Smith has been impressed with what he’s seen from not only Brown, but other young up-and-coming players like Josh Bynes.

“[Brown] is a young linebacker who’s hungry, I think he has all the tools,” Smith said. “We really have some talented linebackers here.”

Brown represents a new breed of linebackers who trade in size for speed to keep up with fast-paced offenses. His size has been the only knock against the rookie, but something the veteran Smith doesn’t believe will be a factor.

“I don’t think so,” said Smith. “I’ve played with guys who were smaller and just as fast and powerful as a bigger person was.”

“It’s just what you can do at your size. I don’t think he should be counted out of anything for being lighter. I was lighter when I came in ten years ago.”

While it may be difficult to imagine a Ravens defense without Lewis and Reed, the Ravens front office made several underrated moves to help ensure that veteran leadership remains, to not only contribute on the field but to also serve as mentors to the club’s younger players.

Smith and Huff aren’t sure-fire Hall of Famers, but judging from what they’ve shown so far during training camp, together they are a pretty good consolation prize.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Camp Notes, Featured by Kris Jones. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kris Jones

Kris Jones
Kris - or "Goob" as he's widely known - has turned an obsession into a career. As a media member by day and super fan by night, he reports from the Under Armour Performance Center twice per week and brings Ravens news from a fan's perspective. His popular YouTube series...more

5 Raves on “Daryl Smith: “I’ll Try to Do My Talking With the Pads”

  1. purpleneons on said:

    Nothing has me more excited this upcoming season than watching this defense play together. Its all on paper right now, but I am going to step out on the limb and say that if things pan out like I think they will on defense, this current off season will go down as Ozzie’s greatest ever when viewed from a historical perspective.

    The defense has been completely overhauled and looks on paper to be on track to be one of the better Ravens defenses since the Browns became the Ravens. The front seven looks especially promising with Doomizzle at OLB’s and Arthur Brown and Daryl Smith playing stout on the inside. Add a rotation of Ngata, Brandon Williams, McPhee, Canty, Spears and Arthur Jones up front with a dash of Upshaw thrown in and we got something special brewing there. Webb and Elam with lead the secondary with playing making and hard hits.

    It will be interesting to see at seasons end where this defense ranks with some of the best Ravens defenses ever. It’s going to be fun watching this defense perform.

  2. Rumor Ray on said:

    Watch out 2000 stats … They 2013 Ravens D is out to set new records! Add in the fact that we now have a top O and this should be a season to remember. History tells the Ravens that a return to the Super Bowl is hard to reach after you just won, however this is a different team. I can not wait for the real games to start! Go Ravens !

  3. Bruce_Almty on said:

    Three teams worry me, one far more than the others. Can the defense defeat the Bengals offense and can our offense withstand the Bengals talented defense? Cincinnati has greatly improved the last 3 years. I see them and the Ravens going 11-5 this year. How great would it be for us to sweep the division? Wishful thinking perhaps but if we bring the ‘A’ game it is doable. Pittsburgh and Cleveland are the other 2 but neither team has improved as much as we and cincy have.

  4. Reggie on said:

    Ozzie did an incredible job this offseason. As for our competition, the Pats, Broncos and Steelers all got weaker in the offseason due to injuries and personnel losses. The Texans and Bengals arguably did not get weaker, but both suffer from same fundamental flaw: a mediocre QB. We can repeat with this group if we survive the injury bug.

  5. Michael on said:

    This D may not be pretty in the first several weeks of the season as all the new pieces learn to work together. There are going to be major communication errors early in the season. Barring injury, this D will get better each game and when it gets to the playoffs…….look out!

    I am so sick of the national know-it-all commentators talking about how the Ravens will miss all the players who left & will be lucky to be .500. When this D gets out there & we’re substantially better than last year’s D, everyone’s gonna be so surprised. That is, unless they are a fan & understand that we got younger, faster & better. Last year’s D wasn’t very good by Ravens standards. This year, I’m looknig for serious improvement. With Joe, Torrey, Ray, Pierce, Jacoby…….and whoever else steps up……the O should be OK.

    Just get us into the playoffs & let the chips fall where they may!

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