John Harbaugh confirmed Monday that cornerback Lardarius Webb won’t play this preseason as he recovers from a lower back injury, though the Ravens coach does expect to have cornerback Jimmy Smith back on the field soon, perhaps for Saturday’s game against the Washington Redskins.
Smith, who left Saturday’s preseason victory over the Dallas Cowboys early in the first quarter with a chest injury, had a magnetic resonance imaging test taken. Harbaugh said it revealed some bruising and a “little bleeding from the lungs.”
“They said it’s not a serious thing,” Harbaugh said. “He just needs a couple of days to heal up. We do anticipate him to play against the Redskins unless something changes that I’m not aware of.”
Smith was injured when he fell hard to the turf while defending a sideline incompletion to Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. After the play, television cameras showed Smith on the sideline coughing up blood.
“I was scared to death. I was right there beside him on the sidelines, to see how he reacted, you never want to see that,” Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith said. “You never want to see anyone get hurt, and obviously his was pretty scary for the moment, but he’s going to be alright.”
Jimmy Smith did not practice Monday, but his positive outlook is good news for the Ravens, who have dealt with injuries to their secondary throughout training camp. Webb, the team’s most accomplished cornerback, hasn’t practiced since July 25.
Harbaugh was holding out hope that Webb would return for Saturday’s preseason game, but he acknowledged Monday that wasn’t realistic. He is still hopeful that cornerback Asa Jackson (right ankle) could return to the field before Saturday.
Jackson hasn’t practiced since Aug.10, and he was on the sideline for the game against the Cowboys with a boot on his foot.
Harbaugh said the silver lining of all the cornerback injuries is that it has given Chykie Brown more repetitions and the coaching staff more of an opportunity to evaluate undrafted rookies Tramain Jacobs, Deji Olatoye and Sammy Seamster.
“Maybe we’re strengthening ourselves from the bottom up with all these reps,” Harbaugh said.
Daniels still out with ‘a little fatigue’
Owen Daniels remained sidelined Monday, but Harbaugh is hopeful that the veteran tight end will play against the Redskins. Daniels hasn’t practiced since Aug. 11, and he did not play in the preseason game against Dallas.
Harbaugh reiterated that Daniels is not injured, but the 31-year-old is dealing with some general soreness in his lower body.
“There’s no pull; there’s no strain of any kind. There’s just a little fatigue,” Harbaugh said. “You get a little swelling in there. You have to take some time to get the legs back, and we really felt like he needed to get his legs back, especially as an older guy.
“We wanted to give him this time to do that. I’m counting on him being there this week. That’s what I’ve been told. There’s no kind of injury in there. It’s just a fatigue factor, and he needs time.”
Rushing game strong so far
Through the first two preseason games, the Ravens are averaging 194.0 rushing yards. That leads the NFL heading into Monday, not that Harbaugh is putting much stock in that.
“One step at a time,” he said. “There were things that weren’t good, but there were a lot of things that really were good. The combination blocks were really good — guys working on double teams getting up to the second level and getting on linebackers was really good.
“Our handling [of] support, most of the time, was really good. The backs are running downhill, and they seem like they understand the reads. All those things are really good, but still, a long way to go to be where we need to be, to have the kind of success that we’re hoping to have.”
Against the Cowboys, Bernard Pierce started with usual starter Ray Rice not getting his first carry until the second quarter. That’s all part of the Ravens’ plan to acclimate Pierce to the starting role for the first two weeks with Rice serving an NFL suspension.
“I just kind of decided to do that, just to get Bernard a feel for starting.” Harbaugh said. “Give him two starts before he starts in the first game. But Ray and he were still going to split the reps, so it could impact us, maybe give Ray a few more reps going forward. But the main focus is going to be Bernard and Justin [Forsett] and Lorenzo [Taliaferro].”
Rice, who left the game against the Cowboys after just two carries to get his shoulder examined, practiced Monday.
Offensive tackle Brett Van Sloten injured the medial collateral ligament in his knee and is expected to miss some time. The undrafted free agent is a long shot to make the 53-man roster. … Guard Will Rackley (concussion) and nose tackle Terrence Cody (hip) remained out of practice.