When the Ravens signed middle linebacker Daryl Smith this past spring, perhaps the biggest question was whether Smith would be able to stay healthy for all 16 games.
The 31-year-old had missed only four games in his career before a groin injury sidelined him for 14 games in 2012, and the injury may explain why the Ravens were able to sign the former Jacksonville Jaguars standout for cheap in early June.
So far, so good for Smith. Through seven games, he is one of five Ravens who have played every snap.
Smith, who leads the Ravens with 62 tackles and two interceptions, has played all 466 defensive snaps for the Ravens. Strong safety James Ihedigbo, third on the team with 40 tackles, has also played every snap.
Meanwhile, there are three ironmen on offense. Quarterback Joe Flacco has played all 494 offensive snaps. So have center Gino Gradkowski and right guard Marshal Yanda.
Here are other observations from the official snap counts:
* After having a pretty even split of snaps in the first few weeks of the season, Elvis Dumervil has started to pull away from Courtney Upshaw in the snap counts at strong-side linebacker. Dumervil has played 285 defensive snaps and Upshaw has played 252, though both have played more than half the snaps. Rush linebacker Terrell Suggs, who leads the Ravens with eight sacks, has played 390 snaps. Former defensive end Pernell McPhee has played 124 snaps at his new position.
* Injuries and uncertainty at wide receiver led to some interesting snap counts at the position. Torrey Smith led the way with 482 snaps -- which is 98 percent -- and it was undrafted rookie Marlon Brown who was second with 330 snaps. Tandon Doss, who wasn't on the Week 1 roster, has played 166. Brandon Stokley has played 93, but he hasn't been active since Week 3. Jacoby Jones and Deonte Thompson, who were sidelined for much of the season's first half, have played 84 and 66, respectively.
* After starting the season as the team's third cornerback, Jimmy Smith has started the past six games and played 459 snaps -- or 98 percent of them. Fellow cornerback Lardarius Webb, back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, has played 372 snaps. Corey Graham, now the third cornerback, has played 321. Chykie Brown has played 10 snaps on defense.
* Veteran tight end Dallas Clark, who was signed during training camp after injuries to Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, has played 271 offensive snaps, the most at the position. Dickson has been on the field for about half of the snaps, playing 246. Billy Bajema, who is currently off the roster, played 65 during his stints with the team.
* Only three Ravens defenders have played more snaps than free safety Matt Elam, the team's first-round draft pick last April. The rookie replaced offseason signing Michael Huff as a starter in Week 2 and has played 408 snaps. Huff, meanwhile, has played just 93. Elam and Marlon Brown have played the most snaps by far among rookies.
* Running back Ray Rice has played 282 offensive snaps despite missing one game with a hip injury. Backup Bernard Pierce has played 190 snaps. It may have seemed like less, but fullback Vonta Leach has played 149 snaps -- or 30 percent of them. Only seven NFL fullbacks had played a higher percentage of their team’s snaps entering Week 8 than Leach. Rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk got four offensive snaps.
* Nose tackle Haloti Ngata was the only Ravens defensive lineman to play more than 50 percent of the defensive snaps. He has played 334. Starting defensive end Chris Canty has played 224 and starting defensive tackle Arthur Jones has played 211. Marcus Spears has played 142, while fellow backups Terrence Cody, DeAngelo Tyson and Brandon Williams have all played 55 or fewer snaps on defense.
* Former Ravens left tackle Bryant McKinnie played 336 snaps for the team before he was dealt to the Miami Dolphins. His replacement, Eugene Monroe, has played all 128 offensive snaps in the past two games. Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele played 438 and 423 snaps, respectively, this season. Backup tackle Rick Wagner and backup center-guard A.Q. Shipley played 86 and 74, respectively, while filling in for injured teammates or giving the Ravens additional bulk when they used their heavy package.
* Weak-side linebacker Josh Bynes played 316 snaps next to Daryl Smith. Rookie Arthur Brown has played 85 there, and Jameel McClain played 30 in his season debut.
* Five Ravens have played at least half of the special teams snaps. Those players include safety Anthony Levine (184 snaps), Juszczyk (164), Chykie Brown (146), linebacker Albert McClellan (144) and rookie outside linebacker John Simon (119). Dickson (110) and Graham (99) have also played significant snaps on special teams.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun