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News & Notes: Harbs Thinks Jimmy Smith Could Prove to Be NFL's Best Corner

Posted Oct 9, 2017

Ravens running back Terrance West reportedly had an MRI that did not show long-term damage. Harbaugh praised the play of defensive tackle Willie Henry and will be watching Monday Night Football.

The Ravens survived with top cornerback Jimmy Smith playing just seven snaps against the Oakland Raiders because of a sore Achilles.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said he’s pleased to see the team’s depth, but make no mistake, the Ravens want Smith on the field.

“He’s a top-notch corner. He’s one of the best corners in football,” Harbaugh said.

“I’m a big Jimmy Smith fan. I think Jimmy Smith will prove in the next couple years to be maybe the best, maybe the best. I think he has a chance to do that. I feel that strongly about Jimmy.”

Harbaugh clarified later that yes, he’s saying Smith could be the best cornerback in the NFL in time.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) ranks Smith as the NFL’s 22nd-best cornerback so far this season, just behind Washington’s Josh Norman. It’s tough to see how his coverage could be much better.

Per PFF, Smith has given up just seven catches for 69 yards in five games. He hasn’t allowed a touchdown, has one interception and added a 47-yard touchdown return to his resume Sunday in Oakland.

Opponents have had a 30.5 quarterback rating when throwing in Smith’s direction. For context, they would have a 39.6 rating if they just threw the ball into the ground every time.

The Ravens decided to rest Smith after his Achilles felt sore following the touchdown return. He played in just three more snaps the rest of the game. Harbaugh said Smith has been dealing with the injury for weeks, yet he’s started every game.

Reported Injury Updates on Terrance West, Matt Skura

Even though he joked that he plays a doctor at press conferences, Harbaugh did not provide any injury updates Monday and said to refer to reports.

Starting running back Terrance West reportedly got good news with his MRI Monday, revealing that the calf injury he suffered in Oakland is not major.

West injured his calf on the Ravens’ first offensive drive at the end of a 13-yard run. He went to the locker room on a cart.

The Ravens already have two running backs on injured reserve with Kenneth Dixon (knee) and Danny Woodhead (hamstring). Woodhead is eligible to return to the field for the Ravens’ Week 11 game in Green Bay.

Harbaugh indicated that the Ravens will make a move at the position, but did not want to announce anything until it’s done.

The Ravens suffered another injury to starting right guard Matt Skura, who left the game in the second half and did not return. Skura will also reportedly miss some time, per The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec.

Skura was replaced by fifth-round rookie Jermaine Eluemunor, who helped continue the offensive line’s strong day. The Ravens also have veteran Tony Bergstrom.

Harbaugh Praises Play of DT Willie Henry

After not seeing any action as a rookie and being inactive for the first two games this season, second-year defensive tackle Willie Henry continues to impress with Brandon Williams (foot) sidelined.

Henry played 42 of the defense’s 56 snaps and logged five tackles, one tackle for loss, one quarterback hit and two passes defensed. He nearly got an interception when he read a check-down pass.

“I see him playing defensive tackle playing really well. He’s knocking people back, he’s getting off blocks and making tackles, he’s rushing the passer,” Harbaugh said.

“Man, he was against a really good left guard a lot of times and he held his own, more than held his own, a number of times. I was really proud of the way he played. He stepped up.”

Henry was matched up against former Ravens left guard Kelechi Osemele, who went to the Pro Bowl last year in his first season with the Raiders.

Of course, Harbaugh’s not going to let Henry’s head get too big. He pointed out that he got pushed back on a couple plays and isn’t playing screens well enough. Harbaugh did give him props for staying onsides this week after Henry jumped last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, giving them a free first down.

Watch Monday Night Football for a Scouting Preview

Hardcore Ravens fans should tune into Monday Night Football tonight as the Chicago Bears will take on the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field.

Count Harbaugh among those who will get home in time to catch the action, as it’s a chance to do a little live scouting. The Ravens play the Bears next and the Vikings the following week.

Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the second-overall pick in this year’s draft, will start his first NFL game tonight.

“Normally on these Monday nights I get home maybe at halftime and then decide if I want to really stay awake or not. Usually the answer is no,” Harbaugh said, adding that there are exceptions for games featuring AFC North opponents and the New England Patriots.

“This game will be watched for sure. I’ll get home in time to watch this one. I think all of Baltimore probably will. The real fans will be watching this one.”

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

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