J. Smith Still Sidelined By Back Injury
Backs can be tricky, and the Ravens aren't messing around with cornerback Jimmy Smith's.
Smith did not practice Wednesday as he tries to get healthy enough to face the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens will monitor Smith's back throughout the week to see if it improves.
"Jimmy is still working on his back issue," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Hopefully he'll be out there tomorrow. We'll see."
Smith sat out Sunday's 27-17 loss against the Dallas Cowboys after practicing just once, in a limited capacity, Friday. Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant proceeded to have a big game with two touchdowns and 80 yards.
If Smith cannot suit up against the Bengals, Baltimore would turn to Shareece Wright, Jerraud Powers, Asa Jackson, or recently-signed Chris Lewis-Harris opposite Tavon Young.
Lewis-Harris is an interesting option. He was released by the Bengals after spending four-plus years in Cincinnati, so he's familiar with their offense. He was claimed off waivers on Nov. 4, so he's had enough time to digest the system.
Lewis-Harris has played in 29 career games, including all three since joining Baltimore, but never started.
"Each week, I've been able to get more comfortable with the calls, checks and alerts," Lewis-Harris said. "I practiced against [the Bengals] a few years, so I'm used to some concepts, but it's still different playing in a different scheme against them."
Tight End Corps Looking More Robust
At season's start, it looked like the Ravens' tight end corps was the deepest position on the roster.
After season-ending injuries to Benjamin Watson (Achilles) and Maxx Williams (knee), and with four- and 10-game suspensions for Darren Waller and Nick Boyle, respectively, that hasn't been the case.
Dennis Pitta, who was coming off two lost seasons due to a second hip surgery and, thus, one of the team's biggest question marks, has been the only tight end to take the field every week.
This week, the Ravens could get some pieces back.
Boyle is back on the field following a suspension and Crockett Gillmore (thigh) practiced Wednesday for the first time in three weeks. He was a limited participant. Gillmore hasn't played in a game since Oct. 23 against the New York Jets.
Either tight end would help the Ravens with blocking, as neither Pitta or Waller are particularly strong in that area. Pitta said their absence hasn't limited what the offense has been able to do, however.
"'Doom' [Elvis Dumervil] and Crockett were out here practicing, so you saw that. That was good," Harbaugh said. "They have different degrees of where they're at, but it was good to see."
Dumervil Nearing A Return?
Baltimore's pass rush could get a boost this weekend as Dumervil (foot) is getting closer to a return.
The veteran outside linebacker practiced fully Wednesday after being limited on Friday last week. He was a full participant last Wednesday and Thursday.
The effects of Dumervil's offseason foot procedure took longer than expected to bounce back from.
He missed the first three weeks of the season, then came back on Oct. 2 for the first of two games. But when he didn't have the same explosion and was still dealing with pain, he and the Ravens shut it down for the past five games.
Last week, Dumervil said he is feeling stronger than he did when he made his first return.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been sacked the third-most times among NFL quarterbacks this year (29). Right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi has particularly struggled. Dumervil had a sack/strip on Dalton last season at M&T Bank Stadium, which linebacker C.J. Mosley returned for a touchdown.
Other Ravens Sit Out
Ravens Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday, but, barring a setback, is still expected to suit up.
He practiced fully throughout last week, but that was also when he was trying to get adjusted to playing left guard for the first time since high school. After making a smooth transition, he'll likely get time off the rest of the season to give his shoulder rest.
Two defensive linemen popped up on the injury report as Brandon Williams (back/hand) sat out completely and Timmy Jernigan (shoulder) was limited. Neither has missed a game this season and there have been no reports of any serious injury.
* *Harbaugh told reporters that Yanda and Williams simply had a day off.
Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (thigh) didn't practice Wednesday. He also sat out last week, but Harbaugh said Taliaferro's injury isn't too serious and he had a chance to take the field.
Rookie guard Alex Lewis (ankle) is still out. He is expected to miss the next five weeks.
Bengals Are Banged Up
Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green isn't the only Cincinnati player dealing with an injury.
Green isn't expected to play because of a hamstring tear, but four other starters also didn't practice Wednesday.
Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and wide receiver Brandon LaFell are dealing with knee injuries and didn't practice. Safety Shawn Williams has a hamstring issue and left tackle Andrew Whitworth got the day off.
With Green likely out, even more falls on LaFell, who has 33 catches for 419 yards and four touchdowns this season. Rookie receiver Tyler Boyd will step into a starting role.
Quarterback Andy Dalton (right shoulder) was limited in practice, as well as starting guard Clint Boling (shoulder), long snapper Clark Harris (groin) and reserve cornerback Josh Shaw (hip).