The Baltimore Ravens managed to kick the 2019 NFL season off in spectacular fashion. Unfortunately, it appears they did suffer a setback with cornerback Jimmy Smith.
Smith was forced to exit with a knee injury he suffered on only the second drive of the game. According to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk, he is expected to be out for several weeks.
Smith went for an MRI on Monday and the tests showed a fairly significant injury for the veteran corner. Raven head coach John Harbaugh said that Smith suffered a Grade 2 sprain and that he will miss “multiple weeks” while recovering from the injury. There had been some concern that the injury would potentially require surgery after linebacker Patrick Onwuasor was seen inadvertently going into Smith’s knee.
This would have effectively ended his season before it essentially began. Fortunately, that does not appear to be the case after he was spotted standing on the sidelines for the duration of the 59-10 victory.
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The Ravens put an emphasis on shoring up their depth in the secondary this offseason. It is already being put to good use with Smith expected to miss some time and cornerback Tavon Young out for the rest of the year. Stepping up in his place will likely be cornerback Anthony Averett, who played well against the Miami Dolphins in the season opener.
Although Baltimore is confident in Averett’s ability to serve as a viable replacement, they will be counting the days until Smith’s return to his role as one of the most integral members of this defense.
Harbaugh complimented Averett for his tight coverage.
“Once he got his sea legs, he really played well,” Harbaugh said.
Baltimore’s secondary was once its deepest position. But nickelback Tavon Young suffered a season-ending neck injury in training camp, and now Smith will be sidelined for a stretch.
Over the next four games, the Ravens will face notable quarterbacks in Kyler Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, Patrick Mahomes, the reigning NFL Most Valuable Player; Baker Mayfield, who threw for over 340 yards in each of his two meetings with Baltimore; and Ben Roethlisberger, who has won four of his past five meetings against the Ravens.
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