- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Jimmy Smith moved closer to being the Ravens' starting cornerback and he didn't even play in the preseason opener because of a back injury. That's what happens when his chief competitor, Cary Williams, struggles and fails to make his case to remain the starter for a second consecutive season.
Four days ago in Atlanta, Williams got picked on by quarterback Matt Ryan, giving up five passes for 79 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter. The numbers are worse than the effort. On the first catch allowed, Williams tried to jam Julio Jones, who was able to get inside position for a 26-yard gain on a slant. The next two passes were completions to Jones when Williams played seven to eight yards off the line.
Williams' weakness got exposed on the next two completions that he allowed. He often gets good position against receivers, but he doesn't turn around. Williams plays the receiver, not the ball. That was the case when Jones had to reach around Williams for the seven-yard touchdown grab. Williams was in front of Jones and could have deflected the pass if he had turned.
It was a similar scenario on the second drive when Williams ran stride for stride down the left sideline with Roddy White. The pass sailed close to the sideline, and White reacted by moving under it for a 21-yard catch. Williams once again never saw it.
When the regular season begins next month, Williams could look back at this game as a missed opportunity. The Ravens need to give Smith, a first-round pick from a year ago, a hard look with the first-team defense over the next three preseason games.