Jimmy Smith Has Groin Surgery, Who Steps Up In His Place?
But what does the injury and subsequent surgery do to a secondary that becomes even more thin and has seen its fair share of injuries to key members?
Corey Graham started in place of Jimmy Smith against Oakland and this week the Ravens signed veteran CB Chris Johnson to the 53-man roster.
Johnson, who is in his ninth season in the NFL, may see a quicker and more substantial role with the Ravens beginning this week in the Sunday night showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Johnson comes to the Ravens with great closing speed and and an extra gear to stay with a receiver like Pittsburgh’s Mike Wallace. He also brings the ability at 6’1″ to provide size, recording eight interceptions in his career.
While Corey Graham’s role will likely increase again, a player to watch this week for the Ravens to play opposite Cary Williams is Chykie Brown.
Brown, the Ravens 5th-round draft pick in 2011, hasn’t seen many snaps, but has a lot of upside, plays hard and has a knack for locating the football. Brown recorded three tackles in the win over Oakland. At 5’11” he’s shorter than the other two corners, but plays physical and can wrap up and tackle.
Graham, meanwhile, could play more of a nickle roll or inside on slot receivers, something he is comfortable with. According to defensive coordinator, Dean Pees, he thinks “Graham is improving every day” and that when dealing with Graham and others, “we need to do a good job of putting them in the right spots.”
With the injuries to teammates, the pressure has been turned up a bit on corner Cary Williams, but he has responded as of late and remains one of the best pure tacklers on this defense. The Ravens will now have to rely on a banged-up unit to play good ball against speedy receivers in Pittsburgh on Sunday night.
Matt Lund is a contributor for BaltimoreSportsReport.com and co-host of the BSR Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @MattCLund.