Smith's tackling ability is one of his strengths

Smith's tackling ability is one of his strengths
September 26, 2013, 4:15 pm
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Harbaugh proud of defense's performance vs. Houston

(Associated Press)

OWINGS MILLS – Missing a tackle is something you won’t see Ravens inside linebacker Daryl Smith do often. He is the leading tackler in Jaguars history for a reason.

“When that guy grabs you, you go down,” said defensive coordinator Dean Pees. “I can’t say enough good things about the guy. Such a great pro, just studies, just really into it. Here’s a guy that didn’t know anything about our system. To catch on that quick tells you a little bit about him.”

Smith’s 37-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Texans on Sunday was one of the biggest plays of the young season for the Ravens. It totally changed the game’s momentum, giving them the lead, and sparking them to a 30-9 victory.

It has been a season of redemption for Smith, injured most of 2012, before leaving the Jaguars and signing with the Ravens during the offseason. Some thought Smith’s best football was behind him at age 31. However, Smith has been making plays since Day 1, partly because he has seldom missed a tackle.

That is not a coincidence. When the whistle blows to end practice, Smith often stays on the field.

“Just the work that you put into it,” Smith said. “Even in practice, a lot of what we do, we’re out here countless hours on the field doing a lot of different drills and everything. Anytime that we’re out here on the field, you just make stuff a habit. Just make sure you’re getting in proper position all the time. It’s just muscle memory, so you get on the field and it’s just what you always do.”

How many missed tackles do you see watching NFL games on Sunday? Often, a missed tackle can make the difference between a small gain or a huge play.

Asked if more players would be better tacklers if they worked harder at it, Smith smiled and said, “I can’t speak for them. But I just know if you work continuously on anything, you can be decent at it, or pretty good.”

When it comes to tackling, Smith is one of the best.