According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post (via Twitter):
“Champ Bailey will be ruled out for the opener Thursday vs. Baltimore.”
This leaves Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Chris Harris as the Broncos’ starting cornerbacks.
The hits just keep coming for a Denver defense that lost Elvis Dumervil this offseason and also will be without Von Miller due to suspension. Obviously the biggest benefactor from the Bailey news is Torrey Smith, who will not have to deal with one of the best corners in the league.
Smith has generally been a hit or miss receiver over the first two years of his NFL career. However with Anquan Boldin in San Francisco and Dennis Pitta out, the team could certainly look to him more as a possession receiver this season while still also taking shots with him down the field. Throw in that he could be the best red zone target (aside from Ray Rice) and things are looking up in Week 1.
This being his third season in the NFL you could also argue that he’s primed for a “breakout” and he could use this opportunity to make a clear statement early. Also, against a high-powered Denver passing attack, could the Ravens be forced to air it out even more in an effort to keep pace?
There is still some risk involved in Smith, but I would feel comfortable using him as a WR2 in all formats at this point.
What are your thoughts on this news? Do you think Smith now becomes a strong play? Why or why not?