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Cornerback Jimmy Smith's return to practice an encouraging sign for the Ravens

Ravens safety Lardarius Webb on Jimmy Smith's return to practice on Wednesday: "We need our No. 1 corner."

After watching quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. dissect the Ravens defense in the second half of Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, free safety Lardarius Webb knows how important cornerback Jimmy Smith is to the secondary’s ability to limit opposing passing attacks.

Webb was quite encouraged to see Smith appear at Wednesday’s practice just three days after he had sustained a concussion in the second quarter and missed the entire second half of that loss to the Giants.

“We need our No. 1 corner,” Webb said. “You saw how things kind of turned around when he went out of the game against the Giants. He’s a big part of this defense. With a lockdown corner like he is, you can do a lot of different things with the defense.”

Whether Smith will be available for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., is a different matter. Smith was limited in practice on Wednesday and was not allowed to talk to media as he is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Rookie cornerback Tavon Young, who lost Beckham on his game-winning 66-yard touchdown catch Sunday, said Smith’s return would be a morale booster for the secondary.

“For the corners, it’s always good to have him back,” Young said. “Without him, things kind of changed a lot, but with him here, things can kind of remain the same.”

The Ravens could certainly use Smith against Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound cornerback has the size and skills to match up with the 6-4, 230-pound Marshall, who ranks 13th in the league in receiving yards (433) and has scored twice.

“He’s a great receiver,” Webb said. “He’s got the size. He can make any catch, a great route-runner. He’s your No. 1 guy. He’s that type of guy where you can just throw the ball up and expect for him to come down with the ball. Every team needs one of those guys, and New York definitely has one.”

Marshall on Wednesday heaped praise on Smith. 

"Jimmy is a hell of a player," Marshall said on a conference call with Baltimore-area media members. "So I would love to get the opportunity to play against him. He’s one of the most underrated corners in the business. He’s so strong and so smart and has really good ball skills. So I’m looking forward to him getting out there and being healthy. But it’s going to be a tough match.”

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