No Ray Lewis? No problem.
OK, maybe no one can replace Lewis, the longtime Ravens middle linebacker who may have been the best ever to play the position. But the word out of Baltimore is that Daryl Smith, who is now starting at the same spot Lewis manned for 17 seasons, is playing very well.
“Daryl Smith, he looks really good,” quarterback Joe Flacco told the Baltimore Sun. “I don’t really notice those guys too much, but he’s seemed to impress me for some reason.”
Smith had a team-high five tackles in the preseason opener against the Buccaneers, and although he has only been with the Ravens for two months, head coach John Harbaugh says Smith is already comfortable running the show in the defensive huddle.
“Daryl is that kind of player,” Harbaugh said. “Nothing different than what he’s done all those years in Jacksonville. He played really well, becoming somewhat of a quarterback of the defense, because he calls the defenses.”
For his part, Smith doesn’t sound overly impressed with his own performance.
“I think we did a pretty good job,” Smith said. “We still have a long road ahead of us to really be where we want to be, but I think we did some good things. We’ll get in [the team facility] the next couple days and watch the film and grade it and see.”
Harbaugh has already given Smith an A for his first game in a Ravens uniform.