J. Smith’s status this week is up in air
Key to covering Marshall, cornerback practices 3 days after suffering concussion
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.