It's never a bad thing to break No. 52's* *records.
Signed to help fill in after Ray Lewis retired last offseason, inside linebacker Daryl Smith has fared even better than expected in his first season as a Raven. Everybody knew Smith (the Jaguars' all-time leading tackler) would be a tackling machine, but few anticipated his effectiveness in coverage.
Smith has surpassed Lewis' franchise record for most pass deflections from a linebacker in a single season. Lewis had 13 in 2003. Smith has 17 this season.
"He has a really good knack in coverage in terms of anticipating routes," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday.
"He understands spacing, splits, route stems and has a pretty good feel for what's going to be run, so he anticipates those things and breaks really well. He's done a great job. He's a smart player."
Smith's 17 pass deflections are just two less than Ravens Lardarius Webb, who leads the team. Smith has gotten his hands on the ball in every game except two and has intercepted two passes, including one he returned 37 yards for a touchdown against Houston in Week 3.
According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Smith has had just two negative games in pass coverage. He had some issues in Pittsburgh, but that was the only outstanding red mark.
Quarterbacks have targeted Smith or receivers in his vicinity 59 times this season and he's allowed 35 receptions. Opposing signal callers have logged just a 77.7 quarterback rating when targeting Smith, per PFF.
Smith's coverage snaps per reception (a measure of the amount of times the player is the primary man in coverage relative to how many receptions he's allowed) is 12.5, the 11th best mark in the NFL.