Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars with ribs and shoulder injuries, and five other defensive backs are listed as questionable as the Ravens’ secondary has transformed from the deepest area of the team in July to one of its thinnest units in December.
The only cornerback not on the Ravens injury report is Pro Bowl pick Marlon Humphrey.
The Ravens (8-5), coming off their pulsating 47-42 win against the Cleveland Browns on “Monday Night Football” that greatly boosted their playoff hopes, host the reeling Jaguars (1-12) — losers of 12 in a row — at M&T Bank Stadium at 1 p.m. Dec. 20.
Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters missed practice all week with a calf injury and is listed as questionable. If Peters can’t play, the Ravens would probably start either Anthony Averett or Tramon Williams — although they both are questionable as well.
Averett, who was a healthy scratch in the Ravens’ 45-42 win at Cleveland Dec. 14, was added to the injury report Dec. 18, as he missed practice with an ankle injury. Averett spent five weeks on injured reserve and then returned to action against Dallas Dec. 8.
Williams — a midseason acquisition to shore up the depth of the secondary — missed the Browns game with a thigh injury and is questionable this week. He had been limited in practice earlier in the week but participated fully Dec. 18, suggesting he will be able to return to action.
Another option could be Davontae Harris, acquired via waivers a month ago, who filled in at Cleveland after Smith went down, but he suffered an ankle injury during the game and is questionable.
Safety Anthony Levine is also questionable with an abdomen injury. Levine, one of the Ravens’ top special teams players, has been dealing with that injury much of the season and played while questionable last week.
The veteran Smith, who has had a strong year after re-signing on a one-year deal, will miss his third game of the season. He has dealt with a litany of injuries this year, appearing at various times on the injury report with injuries to his back, Achilles, groin, shoulder and ribs.
“I just know he’s frustrated with it,” head coach John Harbaugh said earlier this week. “He wants to play. He’s really been pushing himself back on the field every time. It seems like he just keeps coming up with these things.”
Peters, on the other hand, is the only Ravens cornerback who has played in every game this season, though that could change against the Jaguars Dec. 20. Asked about his status for Sunday, Harbaugh simply said, “We’ll see when we get there.”
Peters has 51 tackles this year and is tied for the team lead in both interceptions (3) and passes defensed (8). He also has four forced fumbles.
The Ravens opted to dress just four cornerbacks last week at Cleveland, a move that backfired when Smith, Harris and Peters all left the game at various points with injuries. At one point late in the game, Levine was pressed into duty at cornerback, a position he hasn’t played in several years.
Given the injuries nagging most of this group, it seems likely the Ravens will be sure they have alternatives. Cornerbacks Pierre Desir and Nate Brooks are potential game day practice squad callups. Terrell Bonds — one of four cornerbacks on injured reserve — has been designated to return from IR and practiced this week, so he could be a potential addition as well.
Elsewhere on the injury front, defensive end Calais Campbell (calf) returned to practice in a limited role and is questionable to face his former team Dec. 20. Derek Wolfe (neck/back), who missed practice Dec. 17, was a full-go Dec. 18.
Tight end Luke Willson (hip), who missed the Browns game, was limited in practice all week and is questionable.
In addition to Smith, the Ravens have declared rookie inside linebacker Kristian Welch out with a foot injury.
Here is the full final injury report:
OUT: CB Jimmy Smith (ribs/shoulder), ILB Kristian Welch (foot)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Anthony Averett (ankle), DE Calais Campbell (calf), CB Davontae Harris (ankle), DB Anthony Levine (abdomen), CB Marcus Peters (calf), DL Broderick Washington (concussion), CB Tramon Williams (thigh), TE Luke Willson (hip), DL Derek Wolfe (neck/back)
OUT: CB Sidney Jones IV (Achilles)
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox