There is a lot going on with Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith right now. He became a first-time father earlier this month when his son was born. On July 12, he was arrested for misdemeanor disorderly conduct after an alleged confrontation with police at a Baltimore area bar.
Meanwhile Smith, coming off his best season, is being asked to play even better and to become more of a defensive leader.
Can Smith handle all that? He sounds ready for the challenge.
“It’s time for me to show up, to really show up,” Smith said after Friday’s practice. “This is my fourth year. It’s not about contracts and all that. It’s just time for me to take my game to another level, and I’m ready for that.”
Smith made his first public comments about the arrest since it happened, but they were brief.
“The incident that occurred is still a legal matter, so I’m not able to discuss that right now,” Smith said. “When it’s handled, I will talk about it and give you my side of the story.”
Asked if the arrest was a distraction for him, Smith said, "Not in the least."
Becoming the fifth Ravens player to be arrested this offseason was not what the organization expected from Smith, who has never looked more comfortable since being a first-round pick in 2011. Coach John Harbaugh believes Smith has reached the point where is talent and experience will bring out his best. At 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, Smith has the size, range, strength, and speed to matchup with the physical receivers prevalent in today’s NFL.
“Jimmy’s a big, physical long guy,” Harbaugh said. “That’s a strength for him. You probably want to play to your strengths, no matter what the endeavor. But it’s not just that. You got to be able to play off, you got to be able to play all the zone coverage responsibilities. I think he’s improved all the way across the board. He’s become a technician of sorts. I’m not going to get him too happy, cause he’s still got a long way to go. But I think he’s really committed and dedicated to playing the position the way it’s supposed to be played.”
With the Ravens missing the playoffs last season, Smith he has more then enough motivation.
“I’m taking ownership to say I need to step up with everybody else on the defense,” Smith said. “Be better in last year in every way I can – get more turnovers, more plays, whatever I can to help our team.”