Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith spent last Thursday night trailing a few steps behind Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, enduring a rough game where he was unable to prevent him from reaching the end zone.
The Pro Bowl wide receiver caught three passes for 55 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown pass during the Falcons' 27-23 loss to the Ravens, with Smith given the primary responsibility for guarding him. Smith was accountable for what happened, but he also emphasized that specific knowledge of the coverage schemes and assignments is only known by the players and coaches.
"There's a lot to learn as a whole defense," Smith said Sunday night in his first comments since declining an interview request after the game. "I could be more aggressive. I know what you're getting at.
"Nobody on the outside knows what happens on the inside. There were some holes that need to be fixed, and we worked on them this week in practice."
Smith has dealt with injuries in his first two NFL seasons. He has started just five games, with 49 career tackles, two interceptions and 11 pass deflections. He proved his value to the Ravens during the playoffs last season when his physical coverage of San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree helped the team win Super Bowl XLVII.
Although Smith has drawn frequent praise from the coaching staff during the offseason and since the start of training camp, this wasn't the kind of game they had envisioned.
Smith declined to elaborate on what exactly unfolded defensively against Jones, a fast, big downfield target who caught 79 passes for 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns last season while being named to his first Pro Bowl.
"I'm way too honest," said Smith, the Ravens' 2011 first-round draft pick, who spent this offseason undergoing a strenuous boxing regimen with a Timonium trainer to get down to 200 pounds. "I don't want to say the wrong thing, but nothing is ever as simple as people think it is."
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