Jimmy Smith Becoming a Leader, Ravens Fine Without Ray Rice


Oct 12, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith (22) celebrates after intercepting the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Lunchtime Links, where we round up all the latest Ravens news from around the web for your convenient consumption.  Today we discuss the emergence of Jimmy Smith as a leader, Dean Pees wants to eliminate big plays Sunday, more praise for Will Hill, bold predictions for Ravens vs. Falcons, and why the Ravens are just fine in the post Ray Rice era.

Jimmy Smith Stepping up as a Leader

"Jimmy Smith has developed into the best cornerback on the Baltimore Ravens and one of the top ones in the NFL. He is also emerging as a leader.That became evident on Friday afternoon, when Smith stood in the middle of the final huddle of the day and spoke to the team. He touched on the value of time and how you want to look back on your career and be proud of it when it’s all finished.“Like all guys, he’s grown up and continues to do that,” Smith said. “He’s taken a big role. He’s a top player on our defense. I’ve said it many times: I think he’s one of the best players in the league. And he carries himself that way.”"

Dean Pees wants to eliminate Falcons big plays

"The Ravens will face a Falcons team Sunday that has big-play potential, with the likes of wide receivers Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Devin Hester. That is a concern for Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees. He still believes the Ravens are giving up too many big plays, despite yielding just 16.2 points per game, third in the NFL behind only the Lions (13.7) and Vikings (15.2).The Ravens’ red zone defense has been terrific, but Pees said his unit has not reached its full potential.“I guess I don’t care, as long as we keep winning like we’re winning,” Pees said Thursday. “But I do care. I hate to say that, because it’s really not indicative of how good I think we are and can be.”"

Jacoby Jones is on a Mission for his Family

"Ravens receiver/returner Jacoby Jones has a special mission on Sunday afternoon.Score for his aunts.Jones will be decked out in pink along with the entire Ravens team and coaches. But breast cancer awareness has a particularly special meaning to Jones.His aunt, Jeanette Larkins, is a breast cancer survivor. Another “aunt,” Denise Spellman, though not blood related, is also a breast cancer survivor.“For them to be able to go through that and fight that, that shows how strong women are,” Jones said."

Will Hill is the “Real Deal”

"It’s unknown whether free safety Will Hill will play in Sunday’s game, but the Baltimore Ravens have high expectations when he does suit up.Hill was suspended for the first six games of the season and is practicing for the first time in the regular season. He’s currently on the exempt list, and the Ravens would have until Saturday to make a roster move in order for him to play against the Atlanta Falcons.“Obviously, we expect him to be a very, very good player back there,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “I think he’s very smart. He’s really kept up on everything. It was great to see him back, and I think he’s done a good job here in the few days that we’ve been back practicing. It’ll be interesting to see how he progresses. But we think he’s the real deal.”"

More from Ebony Bird

Bold Predictions for Ravens vs. Falcons

"The Falcons move the ball early and often, accumulating 400 yards of total offense, but stall in the red zone. They eventually get two touchdowns (one from Julio Jones, one from Antone Smith–both receiving), but by that time, the Ravens have the game put away. Joe Flacco and the offense cruises again. No. 5 throws for 300-plus yards and zero INT for the second-straight week, and the Ravens win, 34-20. ~ Mike FastFlacco and Ryan go head to head in the first half, keeping it close 17-14. In the second half Will Hill gets a turnover as the Ravens defense gets to Ryan and Ravens prevail 30-21. ~ Joe PolekRavens and Falcons engage in a shoot out in the first half, with Ravens leading 20-17 at the half. In the 2nd half, the Ravens D stiffens, while the Ravens’ running game gets cranked up and the O continues to pile up points. The Ravens end up cruising to a 38-27 win. ~ Brian McFarland"

Ravens are Doing Just Fine Without Ray Rice

"Quarterback Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens fielded questions Wednesday about whether they had to guard against a letdown following a romp in which Flacco threw for five touchdowns in the first 16 minutes of Sunday’s win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Five weeks earlier, the tone was far different.Amid the turmoil, controversy and emotions of the Ray Rice domestic violence case, the question then was whether the Ravens could hold together as a team."