J. Smith’s sta­tus this week is up in air

Key to cov­er­ing Mar­shall, cor­ner­back prac­tices 3 days after suf­fer­ing con­cus­sion

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS & NFL - By Ed­ward Lee ed­ward.lee@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­wardLeeSun Bal­ti­more Sun re­porter Jeff Zre­biec contributed to this ar­ti­cle.

After watch­ing quar­ter­back Eli Man­ning and wide re­ceiver Odell Beck­hamJr. dis­sect the Ravens de­fense in the sec­ond half of Sun­day’s loss to the New York Giants, free safety Lar­dar­ius Webb knows how im­por­tant cor­ner­back Jimmy Smith is to the sec­ondary’s abil­ity to limit op­pos­ing pass­ing at­tacks.

Webb was quite en­cour­aged to see Smith ap­pear at Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice just three days after he had suf­fered a con­cus­sion in the sec­ond quar­ter and missed the en­tire sec­ond half.

“We need our No. 1 cor­ner,” Webb said. “You saw how things kind of turned around when he went out of the game against the Giants. He’s a big part of this de­fense. With a lock­down cor­ner like he is, you can do a lot of dif­fer­ent things with the de­fense.”

Whether Smith will be avail­able for Sun­day’s game against the New York Jets at MetLife Sta­dium in East Ruther­ford, N.J., is a dif­fer­ent mat­ter. Smith was lim­ited in prac­tice Wed­nes­day and was not al­lowed to talk to me­dia as he is still in the NFL’s con­cus­sion pro­to­col.

The Ravens could cer­tainly use Smith against Jets wide re­ceiver Bran­don Mar­shall. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound cor­ner­back has the size and skills to match up with the 6-4, 230-pound Mar­shall, who ranks 13th in the league in re­ceiv­ing yards (433) and has scored twice.

“He’s a great re­ceiver,” Webb said. “He’s got the size. He can make any catch, a great route-run­ner. He’s your No. 1 guy. He’s that type of guy where you can just throw the ball upan­d­ex­pect for himto come­down­with­the ball. Ev­ery team needs one of those guys, and New York def­i­nitely has one.”

Mar­shall heaped praise on Wed­nes­day on Smith.

“Jimmy is a hell of a player,” Mar­shall said on a con­fer­ence call with Bal­ti­more-area me­dia mem­bers. “So I would love to get the op­por­tu­nity to play against him. He’s one of the most un­der­rated cor­ners in the busi­ness. He’s so strong and so smart and has re­ally good ball skills. So I’m look­ing for­ward to him get­ting out there and be­ing healthy. But it’s go­ing to be a tough match.” Stan­ley mum on avail­abil­ity: For the past three weeks, left tackle Ron­nie Stan­ley has been pep­pered with vari­a­tions of the same ques­tion. When is the rookie go­ing to play? Jimmy Smith tack­les the Giants’ Vic­tor Cruz as the Ravens’ Al­bert McClel­lan moves in. Smith left Sun­day’s game in the sec­ond quar­ter, and the Ravens sec­ondary strug­gled in the sec­ond half. How close is he to re­turn­ing?

And for the past last three weeks, Stan­ley has of­fered vari­a­tions of the same an­swer.

“We’ll see,” the sixth over­all pick in the 2016 draft said after Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice. “That de­ci­sion is left to Coach [John] Har­baugh.”

A foot in­jury has side­lined Stan­ley in the team’s past three games, but he prac­ticed Wed­nes­day for the third con­sec­u­tive day. After be­ing lim­ited Thurs­day and Fri­day of last week, Stan­ley was up­graded to full par­tic­i­pa­tion Wed­nes­day.

Still, if the in­creased ac­tiv­ity is a promis­ing sign that he might be avail­able for Sun­day, Stan­ley would not say.

“I re­ally don’t knowwhattheir mind­set is,” he said, adding later that he understands team of­fi­cials are be­ing cau­tious with him. “All I know is I’ve just got to be ready if my num­ber is called upon. That’s where I am right now.” Nine play­ers missed prac­tice: Nine play­ers did not prac­tice Wed­nes­day: out­side lineback­ers Elvis Dumervil (foot) and Ter­rell Suggs (left bi­ceps), cor­ner­backs Jer­raud Pow­ers (groin) and Sha­reece Wright (ham­string), quar­ter­back Joe Flacco (right shoul­der), re­turn spe­cial­ist Devin Hester Sr. (thigh), in­side line­backer C.J. Mosley (ham­string), wide re­ceiver Steve Smith Sr. (an­kle), and right guard Mar­shal Yanda (shoul­der).

Har­baugh has al­ready said Suggs and Yanda are un­likely to play against the Jets.

Right tackle Rick Wag­ner, who sat out Sun­day’s loss to the Giants be­cause of a thigh in­jury, is no longer on the in­jury re­port. Wide re­ceivers Mike Wal­lace and Bre­shad Per­ri­man wore red non­con­tact pin­nies over their jer­seys, but they did not war­rant men­tion on the in­jury re­port. Tali­a­ferro’s one-year wait: Fri­day marked the one-year an­niver­sary of Lorenzo Tali­a­ferro’s op­er­a­tion to re­pair a Lis­franc foot sprain. His first ap­pear­ance at prac­tice in more than 12 months Wed­nes­day was a sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment for the third-year run­ning back.

“It feels great, man,” he said. “No one can steal my joy right now. Today was a lit­tle rough be­cause I’ve been work­ing, but it’s noth­ing com­pared to be­ing ac­tu­ally out there with pads on.”

Tali­a­ferro, a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft, showed flashes of his po­ten­tial when

Tonight’s staff picks

BEARS@PACK­ERS Jen Badie: Pack­ers Ed­ward Lee: Pack­ers Mike Pre­ston: Pack­ers Peter Sch­muck: Pack­ers Mark Selig: Pack­ers Childs Walker: Pack­ers Jeff Zre­biec: Pack­ers he had 292 yards and four touch­downs on 68 car­ries in his rookie sea­son. He had just 47 yards and one score on13 at­tempts last sea­son be­fore the foot in­jury forced the team to shut him down Oct. 14.

Tali­a­ferro did not par­tic­i­pate in prac­tices dur­ing train­ing camp and was placed on the re­serve phys­i­cally-un­able-to-per­form list Aug 30. The slow re­cov­ery was frus­trat­ing.

“In the be­gin­ning, it was tough,” he said. “But as weeks and months started to pass, I re­al­ized it’s just all part of God’s plan. I’ve been in sit­u­a­tions like this be­fore, not nec­es­sar­ily in­juries, but as far as play­ing.” End zone: Safety Matt Elam, who was placed on in­jured re­serve Sept. 5 after un­der­go­ing arthro­scopic knee surgery, is inch­ing closer to re­turn­ing, but Har­baugh said no de­ci­sion has been made on whether he will be ac­ti­vated. “We­would have to make the de­ter­mi­na­tion,” he said. “I’m not sure. I think the time is about right. I don’t think his knee is quite ready yet. He might be a cou­ple weeks out, maybe. I’m not sure. I haven’t asked that ques­tion, but that’s my gut.” … Four Jets starters did not prac­tice Wed­nes­day: left tackle Ryan Clady (shoul­der), cen­ter Nick Man­gold (knee), cor­ner­back Buster Skrine (non-in­jury rea­son), and de­fen­sive line­man Muham­mad Wilk­er­son (an­kle). Two other starters, run­ning back Matt Forte (knee) and in­side line­backer David Har­ris (ham­string), par­tic­i­pated on a lim­ited ba­sis. De­fen­sive line­man Steve McLen­don (back) and right guard Brian Win­ters (knee) prac­ticed fully.

LLOYD FOX/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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