Reality: Jimmy Smith is playing like a “Shut Down” Cornerback.
Perception: Jimmy Smith might finally be living up to his draft status. Garret Downing of BaltimoreRavens.com tweeted this:
I think it’s safe to say the Jimmy Smith Pro Bowl talk is legitimate. pic.twitter.com/Q4Y5hf1nhJ
— Garrett Downing (@gdowning14) October 20, 2014
As you can see, Smith has been targeted more than some of the most respected corners in the game, and yet he has allowed less yards and less touchdowns than any of them.
A big part of the Ravens success has been how well their secondary has played despite all the injuries the unit has suffered. Smith is a big reason for that.
Reality: Long snapper Morgan Cox is out for the season.
Perception: Long snapper is one of those positions where you are doing your job if your name is never called. It’s a no glory position, but one that is so important.
Cox tore his ACL for the second time in his career and is done for the year. The Ravens went out and found their replacement in Kevin McDermott, who is in his second year after playing in 19 games last season for the 49ers.
The biggest adjustment is getting in sync with the rest of the “wolfpack”. Kicker Justin Tucker and punter Sam Koch along with Cox are three of the closest friends you’ll find on any professional sports team. And that closeness has enabled them to form one of the best special team posses in football. Cox will be missed, and it’s up to McDermott to gel with Tucker and Koch quickly.
Reality: Ray Rice might play in the NFL again this season.
Perception: According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Rice has filed an appeal which could be resolved by mid-November, which would give Rice the opportunity to sign with another team this season and play, if a team chooses to take that risk.
I totally understand Rice’s appeal. It’s just like the “double jeopardy” law that won’t allow you to be charged twice for the same crime. Rice, as we all know too well, was disciplined by the NFL for 2 games, but then was cut by the Ravens, and then suspended indefinitely by the NFL. So in essence, the NFL penalized Rice twice.
Rice was wrong for his actions, but the NFL was wrong in the way they went about the punishment. If Rice’s case is heard in November, he will miss at least 8 games, which is more than the new NFL domestic violence policy states in the suspension for a first-time offender (6 games). So I think he has a case to get reinstated.
The interesting part will be which NFL team will take the PR risk by signing Rice this season. I could see multiple teams taking a chance during the off-season when things have blown over a little bit more. But there will be a few teams that are desperate for help at the running back position, who are trying to make a run at the playoffs and will take a chance. As La Canfora states in his article… New England is just that team, while the Colts would also take a chance.
How will fans of those teams respond to Rice on their team?
I know one thing.
The Ravens won’t be the bad guys anymore, if the Patriots sign Rice.