One of the main reasons for the Ravens' success this season has been their ability to replace injured starters, including Pro Bowl inside linebacker Ray Lewis and second year-cornerback Jimmy Smith.
When Lewis went down, the Ravens replaced him with Jameel McClain, who moved from the weak side to the inside position. It took McClain a while to adjust, but he has become a plugger inside. He's more physical than Lewis was at the start of the season when he had dropped 17-to-20 pounds. The Ravens also made Dannell Ellerbe the full-time starter on the weak side and he has been one of the team's most consistent players during the past month.
Smith, a first-round pick two years ago, has missed the past two games with a groin injury, but his replacement, Corey Graham, has been an upgrade. Graham has been more physical than Smith and able to play press coverage. He isn't afraid to jam receivers. Graham also plays the ball much better than Smith. He knocked down two passes in the Ravens' win against San Diego on Sunday.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun