Jimmy Smith’s first start of 2012 did not end as well as he might have anticipated. Filling in for the injured Lardarius Webb (torn anterior cruciate ligament in left knee), Smith surrendered four catches on five attempts and 68 yards in the Ravens’ 43-13 loss to the Houston Texans on Oct. 21, according to Pro Football Focus.
Smith was especially confounded on a pair of double moves that wide receiver Kevin Walter ran at the second-year quarterback. The first attempt ended in an incompletion due to an overthrown ball by quarterback Matt Schaub.
But Schaub connected with Walter on the second double move in the third quarter. That 34-yard gain helped contribute to a 12-play, 80-yard drive capped by a one-yard touchdown plunge by running back Arian Foster.
Smith said he views the double moves as part of his maturation process in the NFL.
“I’m learning,” he said. “I’m coming along. The last time, obviously, there were the double moves, but other than that, I feel like I played well in coverage. So besides that, I’m just trying to stay disciplined, and I think I’m coming along pretty well.”
Covering double moves can be problematic for cornerbacks, who are taught to read routes and jump them if they see an opportunity. Smith conceded that the aggressive nature of playing the cornerback position can be a vulnerability.
“It’s very hard to defend because it’s like someone swinging at you and you’re not flinching,” he said. “But if you study film and you study when teams take those shots and formations that come out there, it can slim down your chances. Even [the Denver Broncos’] Champ Bailey gets beat on double moves. It’s part of the game. It’s just learning how to narrow it down to when those shots are going to come. You’re not going to know when exactly, but you can get a good feel to stop some of those.”
But Smith said he’s not making excuses for those lapses against the Texans. He insisted that it’s up to him to make the improvements in his game to make sure that future opponents aren’t encouraged to run more double moves against him.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees said the coaches have been trying to encourage Smith to maintain his vision and focus on his assignment, not the quarterback.
“What happens is on the double move, you take your eyes off of the receiver and take them back to the quarterback, and it’s at that point in time when the guy gives you the double move – when you’re looking back and he’s going on the double move,” Pees said. “You have to spot the drive for on the up-field shoulder of the receiver. I used to tell guys that the only way I’m looking back to the quarterback now is through the earhole of the receiver. So if I’m looking through his earhole, I can see him, and I can see the quarterback. If I’m looking back here and he’s here, I have no idea what he’s doing. If he’s here and I’m looking back through him, I know. To me, it’s eye discipline.”