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Daryl Smith quarterbacking Baltimore Ravens' D

On Friday's edition of the Around The League Podcast, we pointed out that a lot of teams missed the boat on Baltimore Ravens linebacker Daryl Smith in free agency after his injury-marred 2012 season.

The Jacksonville Jaguars' all-time leading tackler has carried that trait to Baltimore, recording a team-high five tackles, a pass defended and a forced fumble that ultimately was reversed on replay in an impressive preseason debut with the Ravenslast Thursday.

"Daryl is that kind of player," coach John Harbaugh said, via The Baltimore Sun. "Nothing different than what he's done all those years in Jacksonville. He played really well, becoming somewhat of a quarterback of the defense, because he calls the defenses."

Harbaugh added that Smith "played great in every way" and there "wasn't one negative aspect of his performance."

Toiling in virtual anonymity in the NFL's version of a backwater town, Smith has played at a Pro Bowl level for years even if he's yet to make the trip to Honolulu.

Ravens linebackers coach Ted Monachino, who was with Smith in Jacksonville, insists Ray Lewis' replacement "looks as good as he did five years ago." Lewis might have been peerless as a motivator and leader, but it's not unrealistic to expect Smith to be an on-the-field improvement.

As we've been suggesting since the second wave of free agency, the Ravens have more defensive talent this year than they did during their Super Bowl run.

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