By Edward Lee
6:00 AM EST, December 22, 2011
Jimmy Smith encountered the first test of his blossoming career when the Ravens rookie cornerback was targeted often in Sunday night’s 34-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
Starting for the injured Lardarius Webb, Smith, the organization’s first-round pick in April, was targeted at least five times in the first half by quarterback Philip Rivers, and Smith eventually surrendered a 28-yard touchdown to wide receiver Malcom Floyd in the third quarter.
After the game, Smith chalked it up to a learning experience. On Wednesday, defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano elaborated on what Smith learned from that performance.
“No. 1, they’re going to go after rookies, and No. 2, you’ve got to have amnesia to play that spot,” Pagano said during his weekly briefing. “Physically, it’s one of the most demanding positions to play on the field, especially when you’re playing against that caliber of quarterback and wide receivers. So you’ve got to go back and look at the tape and study yourself. You’ve got to look at yourself as the next offensive coordinator is looking at you because until you put the fire out, they’re going to keep coming. They’re going to keep trying you and keep trying you until you put the fire out and start making some plays. I think he realizes that. It all starts at practice. We always say, ‘You play like you practice.’ So finish the play, which he’s doing a great job [of]. He’s done a great job so far this week, finishing practice. … The great thing about Jimmy is, he’s kind of an unflappable guy. Pretty calm, and has looked at what he needs to correct from a technique standpoint.”
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