Stanley’s foot injury remains a mystery
Rookie LT sat out Sunday after practicing; J. Smith bounces back from concussion again
Although he is a rookie, left tackle Ronnie Stanley has demonstrated a deft touch at avoiding answering questions about the foot injury that has sidelined him for the Ravens’ past four games and about a timetable for his return.
Coach John Harbaugh also isn’t divulging much about the health of the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft.
Asked if Stanley suffered a setback after fully practicing three times last week or if Stanley simply is not ready to return to the starting lineup, Harbaugh said, “The latter.”
“I haven’t viewed him as anything,” he said. “I just go with what the trainers and doctors tell me.”
Stanley’s absence has coincided with the team’s four-game losing streak. More importantly, his inability to return to the field has been puzzling because he has been practicing and walking around the training facility in Owings Mills without any hesitation or limp.
Stanley’s void has been filled by fellow rookie Alex Lewis, who has started at left tackle in each of the past three games. The fourthround pick is tied with quarterback Joe Flacco and cornerback Jimmy Smith for the team lead in penalties with four — including a holding infraction that negated a 52-yard run by running back Terrance West (Towson University, Northwestern High) in the second quarter of Sunday’s 24-16 loss to the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
But Harbaugh said he has been impressed with Lewis’ play after moving from left guard, where he started the first three games.
“Look at Alex Lewis’ situation. I’m going to say, ‘OK, in the big picture of a left tackle in the National Football League, he’s played OK,’ ” Harbaugh said. “Now for a rookie who we drafted to play guard, who was playing pretty darn good at guard, just to bump out there and play left tackle — the toughest spot — and do OK, I think it’s a tremendous credit to him.” J. Smith knew he would play: Despite being limited in practice last week because of a concussion, Smith made his customary start at cornerback Sunday. Although he was listed as questionable, Smith did not have any doubts he would start.
“It was simple,” he said. “You get banged up all the time, and you just keep on going.”
Smith’s quick recovery from a concussion sustained in the team’s loss to the NewYork Giants on Oct. 16 should not be too surprising. He bounced back in similar fashion after banging helmets with Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell in a Thursday night game in 2013, and started the following week.
Smith’s return Sunday was a boon to a defense that had surrendered 211 yards and two touchdowns to Giants wide receiver Odell BeckhamJr. after Smith left in the second quarter. Smith was matched up primarily against Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who caught only three passes for 39 yards despite being targeted a team-high eight times. Suggs cleared in legal case: The criminal charges stemming from linebacker Terrell Suggs’ arrest in March in Arizona for driving on a suspended license were dismissed Monday. Suggs will also be cleared of a civil infraction when he completes a defensive driving course, his attorney Craig Penrod said. The civil situation is a result of his car scraping the wall during his one-car accident in Scottsdale.
Suggs was arrested March 4 and initially charged with driving on a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident and failing to notify after striking a fixture after his BMW collided with the median. An investigation by police showed no evidence that the longest-tenured Raven was impaired and he told officers that he “possibly fell asleep” behind the wheel. B. Williams joins block party: The Ravens registered their 11th blocked kick since 2014 — an NFL high — when nose tackle Brandon Alex Lewis, left, has started at left tackle in each of the past three games, replacing injured fellow rookie Ronnie Stanley, right. Williams knocked down Jets kicker Nick Folk’s 51-yard fieldgoal attempt with 3:04 left in the fourth quarter.
“I was just [angry] and wanted to block the field goal,” Williams said of his play, which kept the Ravens within a touchdown and a 2-point conversion of tying the score. “Usually, L.G. [defensive end Lawrence Guy] lines up at the nose, and he switched over. I guess, something he game-planned or thought up in his head, which was great. I just ran through, hit the guard and threw my hands up and blocked it.” End zone: Despite two lost fumbles this season and two fumbles Sunday that the Ravens retained, Devin Hester Sr. will remain the team’s return specialist. Harbaugh said he still has faith in Hester, who ranks third in the NFL with a 28.8-yard kick return average despite a thigh problem that forced him to sit out a against the Giants. “I’m still very confident Devin can secure the football,” Harbaugh said. “I like the fact that Devin can still break a big return. … Tight end Daniel Brown, who the Ravens waived Saturday, was claimed off waivers Monday by the Chicago Bears. The Ravens had hoped to re-sign Brown to their practice squad. … Jets quarterback Geno Smith, who was knocked out of Sunday’s game in the second quarter after getting sacked by rookie outside linebacker Matthew Judon, reportedly tore the ACL in his right knee and is seeking a second opinion. … Former Raven Ray Lewis will be one of four captains at the Pro Bowl, which will return to the AFC vs. NFC format. Each conference will be led by an offensive and defensive captain, who will be on the sideline to mentor the players. Lewis will be joined by former Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome Bettis. Former Kansas City Chief/Atlanta Falcon Tony Gonzalez and former Oakland Raider/Green Bay Packer Charles Woodson will captain the NFC.