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Rookie Jimmy Smith Endures Growing Pains in First Career Start

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Rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith got the nod to start at cornerback in place of the injured Lardarius Webb in Sunday night’s contest against the San Diego Chargers. What a disastrous night it ended up turning out to be for Baltimore’s No. 22.

(Credits: AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Smith, the team’s first-round draft pick in last April’s draft, was singled out a number of times by Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers. Smith’s miserable night was highlighted by a 28-yard touchdown from Rivers to wide receiver Malcom Floyd in the third quarter.

Smith anticipated coming into the game that he might draw Rivers’ attention.

“For me, this is big,” Smith told The Baltimore Sun. “It was my first game out there and a lot of things happened. They locked onto me, being the young player. They knew how to come after me, and I think they did that well.”

Rivers threw Smith’s way about a half a dozen times the first half, calling double moves that allowed Floyd and fellow wide receiver Vincet Jackson to get open against the Ravens’ inexperienced corner.

On the bright side, Smith didn’t seem to be too aggravated by the success San Diego had against him.

“I’ve been beaten before,” Smith told The Baltimore Sun. It happens. It’s football. These guys do get paid. I’m out there facing Pro Bowlers, and that stuff’s going to happen.”

Although Smith struggled noticeably Sunday night–it just wasn’t him-it was the entire defense, they couldn’t do anything to slow down Rivers and the high-powered San Diego offense.

Expect this performance to be just a bump in the road and a learning experience for the Ravens’ highly talented cornerback.