Ravens slowly getting back to health
EARLY BIRD: Waking up with the Ravens, the day before preseason Game No. 3 against the Panthers.
Two-minute topic: Three reasons why inside linebacker Daryl Smith seems like a splendid off-season pickup.
1. Smith is hungry, having spent his first nine seasons with the Jaguars.
The Jaguars missed the playoffs the last five seasons. Now Smith comes to an organization where making the playoffs is a habit. Needless to say, he likes the change. “I was hurt last year (and) definitely want to prove that I’m healthy and I can still play,” Smith said. “I want to come in and help this team continue to win.”
2. Smith has experience and work extremely hard, so he picked up the Ravens’ system quickly.
So quickly that Smith is expected to start, looking like a starter since the day he arrived. Coach John Harbaugh respected Smith as an opponent, but that feeling has increased working with Smith daily.
“Doesn’t say a lot, because he’s just about business,” Harbaugh said. “Then you sit down and talk to him, and you realize the depth of his character and personality. A great family man. He’s a mature guy. He’s a man. He’s also, I really believe, one of the most underrated defensive players in football over the last eight, nine years. We feel pretty fortunate that he’s here right now.”
3. Smith filled a need, after the retirement of Ray Lewis, the departure of Dannell Ellerbe in free agency, and the spinal cord injury to Jameel McClain.
The Ravens lost a lot at inside linebacker, but with the addition of Smith, and the improvement of Josh Bynes, the development of rookie Arthur Brown will not have to be rushed. Every day, the Ravens see a little more from Smith, and they like it.
“The guy is a smooth player – I don’t know how else to put it,’’ said defensive coordinator Dean Pees.
That is also a word to describe Smith’s transition to the Ravens. Smooth.
Morning thought: “(He) practices so hard. He’s made our offensive tackles that much better just by the way he practices.” Harbaugh on linebacker Elvis Dumervil.
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