The Ravens told Jimmy Smith his mission during his first visit to the Under Armour Performance Center after being drafted.
One of the first things then-Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano told the Ravens' top 2011 pick was that he was drafted to cover Cincinnati's new first-round rookie wide receiver for years to come. That rookie was A.J. Green.
"I actually thought about that two days ago," Smith said with a chuckle. "Exactly what [Pagano] said five years ago is exactly what's happening these days."
Smith versus Green is a matchup that was set in stone from the beginning. And it's still perhaps the best heading into Sunday's tilt against the Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium.
In Green's last visit to Baltimore, he caught a game-winning 77-yard touchdown with four minutes, 58 seconds left to give the Bengals a 23-16 win. That game also happened to be the Ravens' home opener, just like this weekend.
The four-time Pro Bowler didn't catch that pass against Smith. It was with Chykie Brown in coverage and safety Darian Stewart coming over the top.
Still, the 6-foot-4, 207-pound Green has a strong overall track record against the Ravens. In six career games, he has 27 catches for 465 yards and three touchdowns, an average of 4.5 catches and 77.5 yards per game.
"He's an elite receiver who can take the top off* *a defense and go up to make huge plays. You approach him the same as everybody. You want to take him out of the game," Smith said.
While the Ravens typically play their starting corners on a specific side, they have used Smith to shadow a specific receiver before, and they could again this Sunday.
"That comes with the territory. If you're the No. 1 corner, you follow," Smith said. "I don't mind it at all."
More than stopping Green specifically, Smith said he's focused on getting a win.
Smith was part of the reason the Ravens lost Sunday in Oakland. He got beat for a 68-yard touchdown by Raiders rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper on the first drive of the game. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith only gave up three more receptions for 21 yards.
"I'm a cornerback. That's not the first time I've been beaten and it won't be the last time I'm beaten," Smith said. "My goal every game is obviously not to let that happen, but if a play happens, it happens. You brush it off and come back."
That will be the job of the entire Ravens defense after a rough outing in Oakland. As one of the defensive leaders, Smith is delivering a speech to the team after Friday's practice. Green and the Bengals have beaten Baltimore in their last three meetings.
"We've got to take this game personally," Smith said. "This is a back alley fight between somebody that has beaten us up three times."