It got lost a bit within the Ravens' 19-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers, but cornerback Jimmy Smith is displaying encouraging signs of progress in his third NFL season.
Running stride for stride with Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson, Smith turned his body to adeptly track the football and elevated to intercept an Aaron Rodgers pass in the end zone.
The big play was overshadowed by a defeat that included two costly breakdowns in pass coverage not involving Smith: a 64-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Jordy Nelson on cornerback Lardarius Webb and a 52-yard completion to tight end Jermichael Finley where he beat rookie free safety Matt Elam to put the game away.
Despite the loss, the big play shows that Smith, an athletic 6 foot 2, 200-pound, 2011 first-round draft pick, still has more upside as a cover cornerback. For the season, Smith has 24 tackles, six pass deflections and two forced fumbles.
"That was nice," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "It was great to see. He really did a nice job of really going up and high-pointing that ball. Those are plays that we've seen Rodgers hit a hundred times."