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Baltimore Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr has never sat on the bench for any game in his entire career. This impressive streak may come to an end this Sunday, though, as the Ravens will see the return of Jimmy Smith. Smith, suspended for the first four games of the season, is Baltimore’s best cornerback and was one of the league’s best last year. While the Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey duo is the best product the Ravens can put on the field, Baltimore cannot ignore the level at which Brandon Carr is playing. In his 11th year, Brandon Carr is playing perhaps his best football ever. In order not to waste his talent, the Ravens must find a way to keep him on the field.
In a press conference earlier this week, head coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal on whether Jimmy Smith would start in his first game back this week against the Cleveland Browns. Harbaugh indicated that he would observe Smith in practice, and would designate him the starter if he felt Smith was ready to play. Realistically, Smith is probably going to get the starting nod, but that does not mean that Carr’s days playing cornerback are over. Harbaugh also floated the idea of playing Carr in the slot. This move, however, would displace Tavon Young, who has found a role as the slot cornerback.
The Ravens may opt to put Brandon Carr in the slot. They may even choose to keep him as a starting cornerback for this Sunday, and possibly moving forward. Most likely, however, they will delegate Carr to the bench for the first time in his career. Despite this, the Ravens will not ignore Carr’s talent and knack for playmaking. He will see the field, frequently rotated into the lineup throughout the game. This move would not only benefit Carr, but it would relieve the Ravens cornerbacks, allowing them to rest and not take on the full responsibility for the game. For the first time in a long time, the Ravens have true depth in the secondary. With three starting-caliber cornerbacks, the Ravens can move forward confidently.