Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith enjoys role as field general

OWINGS MILLS — During the recent mandatory minicamp, Ravens inside linebacker Roquan Smith dropped back in coverage against tight end Charlie Kolar and made a one-handed interception after he read the play perfectly.

Even though he’s a two-time All-Pro, Smith attended all of the voluntary workouts and mandatory minicamp and was one of the hardest workers on the field.

Smith usually gathers his teammates before each kickoff for a brief message of inspiration.

“He’s also a vocal leader, he’s also kind of an inspirational leader,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said about Smith. “He does it on the field; he does it in the weight room; he does it in the meeting room. He’s just one those guys – one of those special kind of guys.”

Smith led the Ravens with 158 tackles last season. He also had five tackles for a loss, five quarterback hits, and an interception. He earned his second-career Pro Bowl nod in 2023.

Smith also became the first player since Hall of Famer Ray Lewis (1996-2000) to post at least 100 tackles, two sacks and one interception in each of the first five years of a career (2018-22).

Smith is looking forward to this season,  not last year’s success.

“Last year doesn’t matter anymore,” Smith said. “It’s a new year, new team, but we still have a lot of these dogs on the team, and it’s just about staying hungry. We hunt as a pack, and I think of a safari and things like that, a pack of hyenas, lions whoever it is, [nobody] doesn’t want to run up on those guys. I feel like we have that mindset and guys on all three levels.

“We play hard, and effort is something we’ll never question and just being relentless in everything that we do, and I feel like if we do that, our talent will take care of everything else.”

With Patrick Queen signing with the Steelers this offseason, second-year player Trenton Simpson will start next to Smith at inside linebacker. Smith and Simpson have already developed a strong rapport on the field.

Smith always sees room for improvement, and that is one of the qualities that separates him from other players.

“There’s a lot of things where I think I can improve personally, but it’s all about the team and personally, as a team, we came up short,” Smith said. “There is always room to get better, and part of being here, pretty much the entire time, is that I love this. It’s my job, and I love what I do, and so, it’s just about finding ways to get better. There are ways all across the field, whether that’s certain ways to beat different blocks, maybe route recognition even quicker.

“I think there are numerous amounts of things and it’s always about getting better, because if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse, in my opinion.”


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