One of the most impressive feats from the 2022 season was how Roquan Smith was able to come into the Baltimore Ravens defense and turn things around immediately. As a middle linebacker, he has plenty of communication tasks, and he also will be involved in every snap. It shows how prepared he was every week to step right in.
Roquan Smith will wear green dot for Baltimore Ravens
One thing that helped ease the transition was Chuck Clark. Clark was more than just your average safety, he essentially took on the role of the middle linebacker before Smith was here. He led the defense, and he wore the green dot as the player who communicated with defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald and relayed calls to his teammates on the field.
This is a task usually designed for linebackers since they are in between the line and secondary and can relay calls to both. Clark was so good the Ravens trusted him in this role. Beyond that, Smith was already being asked to do a ton on the fly, so asking him to take on play-calling was far too much.
However, now things are changing. Chuck Clark was traded to the New York Jets, so the team is going to have to look for someone to step into that role. More than that, Roquan Smith now has the time to be ready for that role.
When he was asked to come in on the fly he did not have the time to get every call right. Beyond that, he has to learn which players he has to make certain types of calls to. It is a long process. Of course, now Smith has plenty of time.
Mike MacDonald surely gave Smith the entire playbook this offseason and expected him to get every call down. During OTAs, the Baltimore Ravens likely gave Smith the test and he passed it. Now, it is being reported that Roquan Smith will be the one wearing the green dot in 2023.
It was always expected, but it appears that he has earned the role by putting in the time this offseason and there will be no debate or competition over who makes the calls. By making the decision now the rest of the defense can learn from the leader of the defense, and adjust based on the way he makes the calls.
It will always be different when the play caller of the defense changes. However, knowing that Smith was the leader the second he stepped in last year, and knowing that the Baltimore Ravens have not wavered and are all-in on who is taking over that role should make the transition much easier.