Cornerback J. Smith Returns, Good to Go
Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith returned to the practice field Friday as a full participant after missing the last two days with an Achilles issue.
He is officially listed as questionable on the final injury report, but Head Coach John Harbaugh indicated that Smith will be ready for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
“I know we didn’t announce that, but [his status] was not a question,” Harbaugh said. “He’s good.”
The Ravens decided to give Smith a couple days of rest and he also welcomed his second child this week.
Having Smith available is certainly good news for the Ravens defense. The starting cornerback has been stellar throughout this season, and the Ravens want to have their entire secondary available when trying to stop a talented Raiders offense.
The Ravens have been giving Smith some plays off during games by rotating in cornerback Marlon Humphrey. The first-round pick has played more and more each week, and the Ravens won’t hesitate to put him on the field if Smith’s Achilles is bothering him.
Defensive Tackle B. Williams Ruled Out
The Ravens will have to go at least another week without starting defensive tackle Brandon Williams in the lineup. He’s been ruled out with a foot injury, meaning he will miss his third straight game.
Williams’ absence has been felt the last two weeks, as the Ravens defense has allowed 70 total points over that stretch. Williams is the anchor in the middle of Baltimore’s defense, gobbling up blockers and providing much-needed interior pass rush.
The Ravens have turned to Carl Davis and Willie Henry to step up with Williams sidelined, and second-year starter Michael Pierce has also increased his snap count.
“I had to come out there, get the guys ready to go and just be a primary playmaker for this defense,” Pierce said. “He’s our leader, he’s our tone-setter, but now, it’s on me to do that until he gets back.”
Pierce, Davis, Henry and the rest of the defensive front will have the difficult task of stopping the Raiders' rushing attack led by Marshawn Lynch and an imposing offensive line.
TE Watson Returns to Practice
The tight ends had a more complete group on the field Friday morning as Benjamin Watson (calf) practiced for the first time this week.
Watson went through the same process last week dealing with the calf issue. He had two days of rest before returning to practice Friday and playing in the game. Like last week, he is listed as questionable.
Watson had Achilles surgery last year, so the Ravens want to make sure not to overwork him during the week of practice. The 36-year-old tight end is a vital piece to the offense, as he leads the team in both receptions (16) and yards (146).
Fellow tight end Maxx Williams, however, remains sidelined by an ankle injury that has held him out of practice all week. He has been ruled out for Sunday’s game.
Williams started the first two games before the injury. He has five catches for 26 yards this year.
Rookie CB Hill Impresses in Practice
Undrafted rookie cornerback Jaylen Hill returned to practice this week after being sidelined the first four games with a hamstring issue.
He is officially listed as doubtful on the injury report.
Hill was one of the surprises of the summer and earned his way on the 53-man squad with how well he played in practice and preseason games. Harbaugh said he seemed to pick up right where he left off.
“He looked good, moved well, had a couple interceptions out there during the course of the week,” Harbaugh said. “That was good to see.”
It’s unknown if Hill will make his NFL debut, as the Ravens has solid depth in the secondary. Veteran cornerback Lardarius Webb, who missed Wednesday’s practice with a thigh injury, was a full participant Thursday and Friday and is expected to play.
**Carr Listed as Questionable
Could the Oakland Raiders have quarterback Derek Carr (back) this week after all?
Earlier this week, Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio originally said players with a transverse process fracture like Carr's typically miss two to six weeks, Del Rio did not rule Carr out for Sunday's game but said there's a "real good chance" he would be out.
However, Carr has practiced on a limited basis the past two days and is now listed as questionable to play Sunday. Questionable is the best grade an injured player can have.
Carr has beaten the Ravens the past two times they have met. EJ Manuel has been assumed to be the starter this weekend.
The Raiders also may get starting wide receiver Michael Crabtree back on the field.
Crabtree missed last week’s game with a reported bruised lung, but he returned to practice this week and is officially listed as questionable. Crabtree has 13 catches for 170 yards and three touchdowns this season. Check out the full injury report here.