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The Sports Daily > Ravens Football Machine
Ravens have got to get Daryl Smith back into their life…

Daryl Smith didn't replace Ray Lewis in 2013… but he sure came close.

Smith and his overall performance at ILB in 2013 reminded me of the lyrics to an old Beatles/McCartney song off the 1966 LP "Revolver"— "Gotta To Get You Into My Life"….

"I was alone, I took a ride

I didn't know what I would find there

Another road where maybe I could see another kind of mind there"

 

Smith turned out to be a great fit for the Ravens defense.

Daryl Smith was a success in his first year in Baltimore. The veteran was signed to help fill in after Ray Lewis retired, and answered with a team-leading 123 tackles and 19 passes defensed. He was good against the run and pass. Smith is back on the free-agent market, but said “I think [the Ravens] want me back.”

I've been watching some tape-recorded games of the Ravens from this past season and have gone back over a few of Smith's performances in particular. The dude was a flat out beast for Baltimore in the absence of the great Ray Lewis.  I enjoyed watching him… reading the offensive formations….directing the D-linemen and telling them which way they needed to shift (by a subtle tap on the hip), and then the LBs and secondary guys as well.  Little stuff like that sticks out to me and shows the mark of a great technical player. 

Pay the man. Don't let this veteran linebacker walk into the sunset. The Ravens would end up regretting it….

Ryan Mink, the lead writer for the Ravens PR division,  put out a piece yesterday which examined the state of the Ravens' linebacker corps.

What Ravens Have

Two Strong Pass Rushers
At the midway point last year, OLB's Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil looked like perhaps the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL. Suggs had nine sacks in his first eight games. Dumervil had 8.5 sacks in his first nine contests as a Raven. But both dropped off. Suggs had just one sack in the second half of the year. Dumervil, who was limited by an ankle injury, notched one in his final six games. The duo combined for 19.5 sacks on the year.

Bruising Upshaw
Courtney Upshaw didn’t deliver the sack totals he was hoping for, and he had half as many tackles in 2013 as he did in 2012. But one thing Upshaw continued to do was beat up the opposition. Watching tape, it’s easy to see that Upshaw is an edge-setting force who tosses around tight ends frequently. He could have a bigger role next season.

Young Outside Linebackers
Heading into his third year, Pernell McPhee is an alluring talent. His sack totals dipped from his breakout rookie year, but he developed his overall game. The Ravens drafted John Simon in the fourth round last year, and due to the abundance of outside linebackers, he was mainly limited to special teams. Adrian Hamilton has been a prospect that has intrigued Ravens fans before with his pass-rush potential, and is a restricted free agent coming off a season-ending wrist injury.

What Ravens Are Looking For

Brown To Take Next Step
The Ravens were very excited to get Arthur Brown in the second round of last year’s draft. He didn’t have a huge impact on the field in his rookie season, notching 15 tackles, a half sack and forced fumble. He was focused on learning the game and Ravens system while teammates Daryl Smith, Jameel McClain and Josh Bynes took most of the snaps. After the season, Head Coach John Harbaugh said he expects Brown to win the starting Will linebacker job this summer.

Question Marks

Will Suggs Be Back?
Suggs’ future is unknown at this point, as indicated by General Manager Ozzie Newsome. Newsome said the Ravens are not afraid when it comes to letting players go. Suggs is reportedly slated to eat $12.4 million into next year’s salary cap, so the Ravens could cut him or look to give him an extension with a more favorable cap number.

No matter what happens to Suggs, the Ravens should do everything within reason to re-sign Daryl Smith.  He is—-that darn good.