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News & Notes: Mike Macdonald on Roquan Smith: 'Expect Him to Be Out There'

LB Roquan Smith
LB Roquan Smith

Roquan Smith played every defensive snap for the Bears this season, and it sounds like he'll see plenty of action Monday night for the Ravens.

Smith hasn't had much time to learn Baltimore's defense since being traded on Tuesday, but he's learning quickly according to Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald. Unless something changes, Macdonald expects the NFL's leader in tackles to have a major role in his Ravens debut.

"It's a lot of concepts he's done in the past," Macdonald said. "I'm not surprised, knowing his reputation and people who have worked with him in the past. Give the guys credit too, they're constantly talking about how we're playing things and what things mean. It's kind of been a team effort. I think you can expect him to be out there."

Macdonald was pleasantly surprised Tuesday to hear the Ravens had acquired Smith, and immediately started to think about ways to utilize the All-Pro inside linebacker's vast skillset.

"You're going about your business, and it was something I wasn't expecting," Macdonald said. "You trade for a guy of caliber … it definitely shifts your focus a little bit. I think he's played every snap up to this point. Moving forward, as long as he's up to speed on what we ask him to do, there's a good chance he's going to be out there."

Greg Roman Won't 'Sugarcoat' Rashod Bateman's Loss, But Expects Others to Step Up

Losing No. 1 receiver Rashod Bateman (Lisfranc foot surgery) for the season presents a huge challenge for Baltimore's offense, one that Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman won't try to downplay.

"It's really tough. Let's not sit here and sugarcoat it," Roman said. "Bate's a really talented guy. He's been dealing with some stuff this year. We look forward to him getting healthy. That's all we can focus on right now – him coming back stronger than ever and having a bright future with the Ravens."

Having a bye week after Monday night's game will give the coaching staff more time to make adjustments offensively. Tight end Mark Andrews (shoulder) will also have extra time to get healthier.

"That's probably pretty favorable for us," Roman said. "We pour everything we can into this game, then we have a chance to get some guys back fully healthy for the home stretch. (I'm) really excited about the guys stepping up. It's all about opportunity. Don't think for a second these guys won't step up and take advantage."

Mike Macdonald Won't Ask Odafe Oweh to Draw Attention to Being Held

Odafe Oweh's lone sack this season came in Week 4 against the Bills. However, teammates say Oweh is being held frequently by the opposition, preventing him from getting to quarterbacks more often. Macdonald smiled when asked if Oweh should be doing more to sell holding calls to the officials. 

"That's a dangerous question," Macdonald said. "I don't really know the answer. You don't want him thinking, 'I've got to try and sell the holding call,' because you're trying to go 1,000 miles-per hour at the quarterback."

Owen is only in his second season and it may take him a few more years to earn the benefit of the doubt on calls.

"Those things will come, I guess," Macdonald said smiling. "We'll see. Maybe they won't."

Coaches Will Keep Eye on Devin Duvernay's Workload

Bateman's absence could mean even more targets for wide receiver Devin Duvernay, who's having his best season while still handling return duties. Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton said the coaching staff would be wary about giving Duvernay too much to handle, and that other players may be asked to return punts if Duvernay needs a break.

"In the games, we're kind of thinking about those things, and we just kind of go off feel," Horton said. "If we need to make a change because of maybe fatigue or something like that, then we will. We do have other guys and other options."

DeSean Jackson, who could be elevated from the practice squad for Monday's game, and wide receiver James Proche II are two players with punt return experience.

"He's (Jackson) had success doing it," Horton said. "Proche, he did it for us [his] first year. So we have other guys to fill those roles."

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