Ravens HC John Harbaugh: CB Jimmy Smith Enjoying ‘Really Good Camp’

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — On the last play of team drills at Ravens practice Aug. 19, Lamar Jackson found Nick Boyle cutting across the middle inside the 5-yard line. Boyle turned toward the corner of the end zone, but Jimmy Smith closed the distance fast and lowered his shoulder into Boyle to “tackle” him just short of the goal line.

The entire defensive unit spilled onto an adjacent field to mob Smith in a wild celebration, and it punctuated an overall strong day for the defense.

Smith, who turned 32 last month and returned to the Ravens on a one-year deal signed this offseason, has had “a really good camp,” head coach John Harbaugh said after practice.

At this stage of his career, Smith is considered a backup to Pro Bowl cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters and could get some action at safety this year. The Ravens’ first-round pick in 2011 is still a top-tier, physical defender when healthy, but his biggest issue throughout his career has been his availability. Smith has played all 16 games twice in nine NFL seasons.

Smith missed six games last season with a knee injury and finished the year with 30 tackles, one sack, one interception and six passes defensed.

Harbaugh noted that in the Ravens’ deep secondary headlined by Humphrey, Peters and Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas, Smith hasn’t gotten as much media attention this summer, but Harbaugh said, “Jimmy’s legit.”

He said Smith is about 10 to 12 pounds lighter than last year “and I really think it’s helped him. I think he looks quick and fast, and really looks good out there.”

Especially on that final play, which Boyle figured would end in a touchdown.

“Hat’s off to Jimmy,” Boyle said. “He had a good play. I let my guard down a little bit when I caught it. I thought I was wide open. I have to have a better sense of urgency there. Pluck it, tuck it and get in the end zone.”

Here are some other notes from the Ravens’ workout Aug. 19, the third full-team padded practice since this pandemic-altered training camp began. Players will be off Aug. 20 before returning to the fields Aug. 21:

WOLF LEAVES EARLY, WESLEY SIDELINED BY SHOULDER INJURY: Wide receiver Chris Moore (broken finger) and outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson (undisclosed) missed practice for the third straight day, and undrafted rookie tight end Eli Wolf went down with an injury late in the workout. Wolf was helped up by trainers and then walked off under his own power.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a big serious thing, but we will see once he gets in the training room with the doctors,” Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh revealed that wide receiver Antoine Wesley missed practice with a shoulder injury that could sideline him for “a few weeks.” His absence will be a major blow to his long-shot hopes to make the 53-man roster.

DEFENSE SHUTS DOWN TWO-MINUTE DRILL: Neither the first- or second-team offense could get any traction during a late-game, two-minute drill. Trying to move the ball into field-goal range with one timeout remaining, the offense twice failed to get a first down.

Lamar Jackson’s third-down pass thrown behind tight end Mark Andrews glanced off Andrews’ hand incomplete, and then a fourth-down pass was broken up by cornerback Tavon Young. After the series, a frustrated Andrews threw his helmet to the ground on the sideline.

When the second unit took over, James Proche made a tremendous diving catch on a deep ball from Robert Griffin III, but the play had been whistled dead because of a touch sack. Griffin’s fourth-down pass was broken up by cornerback Terrell Bonds.

ALAKA IMPRESSES IN 1-ON-1 DRILL: One early portion of practice featured inside linebackers going against running backs in a 1-on-1 pass protection drill. Linebacker Otaro Alaka got the best of both Gus Edwards and Justice Hill with nice moves that left the running backs blocking air.

Alaka made the team as an undrafted rookie last year but was inactive for the first three games and then placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. He figures to be on the roster bubble again this August, and a strong showing in these drills could be especially valuable given the lack of preseason games.

One intriguing matchup during the drill pitted the Ravens’ top two 2020 draft picks against each other, with first-round linebacker Patrick Queen battling second-round running back J.K. Dobbins. That proved to be something of a stalemate, and Dobbins, who has said he embraces the role of pass protection, showed well overall.

NOTES: Dobbins and safety DeShon Elliott spent some time jawing at each other at one point in practice but later embraced after a play. … During an 11-on-11 period, both Calais Campbell and Tyus Bowser recorded touch sacks. Bowser basically drove Nick Boyle back into Jackson. As for Campbell, it’s easy to see why he could be such a disruptive force against the run and the pass. He is in the Ravens’ backfield a lot. … One of the best plays of the day came during a 1-on-1 drill, when undrafted rookie receiver Jaylon Moore went up and over the top of cornerback Josh Nurse to haul in a catch. As the offense roared in approval, Moore threw the ball skyward.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Bo Smolka

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