OWINGS MILLS — Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith suffered a sprained right knee Sunday during Baltimore’s 59-10 dismantling of the Miami Dolphins.
Head coach John Harbaugh confirmed Monday what he had speculated the previous day when he said Smith’s injury did not appear serious enough to end his season.
“It will be multiple weeks. He has a Grade 2 sprain in there, so it’s not going to be a season-ender by any stretch,” Harbaugh said. “How many weeks it is, that depends on how fast it heals. We’ll see going forward, but it’s going to be multiple weeks.”
The cornerback position is one of Baltimore’s deepest units, but the Ravens have already lost nickelback Tavon Young for the season.
Teams can designate two players to return from injured reserve as long as they were on the initial 53-man roster after they miss eight weeks. If Smith could take half the season to heal, the Ravens could place him on injured reserve to open another roster spot.
“It’s a possibility,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t think it’s a probability right now, but I haven’t spoken with Eric or Ozzie about that at this time. We’ll have to see.”
Leading 35-3 with just under three minutes left in the second quarter Sunday, the Ravens unexpectedly faked a punt. Anthony Levine broke through the middle of the field for a massive 50-yard gain down to the Miami 10-yard line.
Harbaugh defended the decision after the game and addressed it again on Monday.
“We’ve been in those games before on the other side, as you know. That’s not a complaint that you have. We’ve had a fake punt on us run with 35-plus on us. We’ve had two passing touchdowns scored against us in the last six minutes of a blow out. That’s the NFL,” Harbaugh said. “But the point is – and I know that the Dolphins understand this – is that the objective, especially in the second quarter but throughout the game, the objective is to keep your offense on the field and to keep your defense off the field by any means necessary. We’re not looking for more snaps for our defense. We’re always trying to do that. We knew we were going for that fourth down once it got close to fourth-and-1. So now, you look for your best play. We thought the fake punt was the best play, so that’s why we did it.”
First-year Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said something similar on Sunday, noting that it was his team’s job “to stop them” and that Miami wasn’t “looking for hand outs.”
Teams usually don’t want to show what trick plays they may have up their sleeves in Week 1, especially in a lopsided game where it is not needed to secure a win, but Harbaugh wasn’t worried about that, either.
“That’s a pretty standard play,” he said. “That dive play on a punt, everybody runs it, so everybody knows we have it.”
Lamar Jackson silences skeptics with his arm
Lamar Jackson became the youngest player in NFL history to post a perfect passer rating Sunday. He completed 17-of-20 pass attempts for 324 yards and five touchdowns.
“Not bad for a running back,” Jackson joked after the game.
In fact, Jackson barely ran at all. He scrambled just three times for six yards.
Harbaugh speculated before the season that Jackson might set the league record for rushing attempts by a quarterback. How many times the Ravens’ quarterback runs will always be a topic of conversation, but it is not something the organization worries about in house.
“It’s not a hot topic with me. I get it – it’s a hot topic. But just because it’s a hot topic out there, doesn’t mean it has to be a hot topic in here,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not. Nobody cares in here. Whatever they give us – if they allow Lamar to run, he’s going to run. They didn’t. They were taking it away, for sure, it was part of their plan not to allow him to run. If people decide that that’s going to be the way it’s going to go, he’s not going to run. That’s the way the offense is organized, so we’re not worried about it right now.”
Bozeman earns Harbaugh’s praise
Who would start at left guard was undoubtedly the biggest question mark of the preseason.
Two contenders, Alex Lewis and Jermaine Eluemunor, were traded away during training camp.
Second-year offensive lineman Bradley Bozeman received the nod Sunday, and the entire unit played about as well as an offensive line can. The Ravens rushed for 265 yards and recorded 643 yards of total offense.
“Excellent. Not without areas that we can improve, for sure, but they were physical. They kept their pads down for the most part. The technique in run blocking and the pass blocking was good. We picked almost all of their pressures every time – and they brought a lot of pressure. They played well,” Harbaugh said. “Bradley played really well and justified the fact that he was in there as the starter at [left] guard.”
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