On the Steelers: Fast corps of wide receivers prompts major change in Ravens secondary
Thursday, September 08, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Casey Hampton suggested this week that the Steelers have the edge on the Baltimore Ravens because they have a better deep passing game.
The Ravens tried to counter that in April by drafting one of the best cornerbacks available, Jimmy Smith of Colorado, with the 11th overall pick. Smith is big at 6 feet 2, 210 pounds, and he has been clocked in a reasonably fast 4.47 seconds in the 40. Word from Baltimore is that he will make his first pro start Sunday in his first game against the Steelers.
The Steelers have some young receivers who can fly.
"I'm not worried about him," said one of them, Mike Wallace. "He needs to worry about us."
Wallace has 4.3 speed and has led the AFC in each of the past two seasons with averages of 19.4 yards (2009) and 21.0 yards ('10) per catch. Emmanuel Sanders runs a 4.4, and Antonio Brown looks to be even faster than his 4.47 clocking coming out of school. Smith will be tested deep early in his NFL career.
"He just needs to just be ready, because we're going to be coming at him," Wallace said.
Wallace has two big-play seasons behind him, so his puny three catches for 19 yards in this preseason prompted no concerns. On the other hand, Brown has been sensational, averaging 25.6 yards on nine catches this summer, three for touchdowns -- one of 77 yards.
The Steelers are expected to test that Ravens secondary with the rookie Smith at cornerback Sunday.
"Man, we can take our shots deep on anybody," Wallace said. "We don't discriminate. It doesn't matter who it is. Anybody can get it."
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