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Jimmy Smith gets another crack at it


Jimmy Smith gets another crack at it

All eyes again will be on cornerback Jimmy Smith, especially those of Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden who reached 300 yards passing in the first meeting between the AFC North foes in Week 4.

Smith, who started his first game of the season two weeks ago to mixed reviews from Ravens coach John Harbaugh, gets another chance to prove himself Sunday.

The second-year player proved vulnerable to double-moves as he was beaten badly by Kevin Walter of the Houston Texans in a 30-point loss going into the Ravens' bye week.

That's something Smith has to remedy with Browns receiving corp that's emerging behind unheralded rookie Josh Morgan, who surely will test Smith's discipline.

“The biggest thing here is what affects you is usually your eyes. What happens is on the double move you take your eyes off of the receiver and take them back to the quarterback, and it’s at that point in time when the guy gives you the double move," Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said as he explained a glaring weakness in Smith's coverage. "You have to spot the drive for on the up-field shoulder of the receiver. If you drive for that spot -- I used to tell guys that when I coached the secondary –-- the only way I’m looking back to the quarterback now is through the ear hole of the receiver. So, if I’m looking through his ear hole, I can see him, and I can see the quarterback. … It’s eye discipline.”

The Ravens need Smith to perform in place of Lardarius Webb, who went out with a season-ending knee ligament tear Oct. 14. Weeden threw for 320 yards with Webb in the lineup for the Browns' 23-16 loss in Baltimore.

"We're coming off a big loss. In order to put ourselves where we want to be, we have to win this game," Smith said.

He spent the Ravens' bye week looking in the mirror.

"In the bye week your focus is rest. I took that time to look at what I was doing personally. I wasn't too much focusing on anybody else," Smith said. "I studied my techniques and what the other teams might be seeing. Critiquing myself. I don't grade myself.

"I've been playing OK. I gave up some plays, but who hasn't?

When Smith played at Colorado he faced Weeden, who is in his rookie season, when the signal-caller was at Oklahoma State.

Even though Smith didn't start for the first meeting with the Browns, he played against Weeden then, too.

"He can get the ball downfield. I think he's a pretty good quarterback," Smith said.

If he gives up another big play, Smith won't sweat it too much. The other starting cornerback for the Ravens, Cary Williams, had a rough start to the season as he was targeted successfully by Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.

But Williams got his first interception of his career against Weeden, a 63-yard return for a touchdown, that proved to be the winning margin for Baltimore.

"That's just how it is. Certain positions in the league, corner, quarterback are two positions that can make or break games with one play," Smith said. "We have so much responsibility.

"If you're doing your job no one cares. But if you get beat one time everybody in the world thinks you're the worst. It's just part of the job."

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst


Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 


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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."