Ray Lewis replacement? Daryl Smith quietly doing the job
Ray Lewis was arguably one of the greatest inside linebackers f all time. The two-time Super Bowl winner was known for his all-around domination on the football field. Lewis played his entire 17 year career with the Baltimore Ravens, retiring in 2012 after the Ravens secured their second Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
Trying to replace one of the greatest players of all time and the greatest player to pull on the purple and black for the Ravens was always going to be a difficult task.
The Ravens attempted to fill that void with the signing of nine-year veteran Daryl Smith. Smith is known as “Buck” by team mates Smith never wanted the limelight on him, something he probably picked up from playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Sometime during the 2013 season, people stopped talking about how the Ravens were going to replace Lewis. This was due to Smith doing such a great job of replacing Lewis. In his first season with the team, Smith recorded five sacks and 18 passes defended.
That stat line is something not even the great Ray Lewis achieved in his 17 year career. Smith also recorded 123 total tackles Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 16th best inside linebacker in 2013.
A good reason as to why he was so successful was because he never tried to be the next Ray Lewis, never tried to be anyone other than Daryl Smith.
“He didn’t try to be anybody else. He leads in his own way,” Ravens lineman Chris Canty said. “He’s confident; he understands this game. He’s played at a high level for a long time. A lot of people might not recognize that.”
Smith himself also said he didn’t feel like he was replacing Ray Lewis.
“I never really did think about [replacing Lewis] until it was brought up in a setting like this,” Smith told reporters. “I didn’t concentrate on doing anything but making my plays, picking up the defense and playing ball.”
The 32-year old Smith re-signed with the Ravens in the off-season after only signing a one year deal in June 2013. Smith will help fill the void left by ray Lewis for at least one more year.