Ravens head coach John Harbaugh expressed confidence in his embattled secondary a day after learning his top cornerback, Jimmy Smith, would miss the rest of the season following surgery on his left foot.
"We'll be fine. We'll recover," Harbaugh said following the Ravens' final full practice before Sunday afternoon's game against the Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium. "We have good players at every position. We'll pick up the slack as a group and as a unit. We always do. That's what you do. This happens all around the league. It's just the way it is. It's football, but I feel bad for Jimmy. He was having a great, great year but he'll bounce back and be even better."
Smith, who hurt his left foot in an Oct. 26 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, visited renowned orthopedist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday and further testing resulted in the decision to have surgery.
The Ravens haven't revealed the exact nature of the surgery, but they've said that Smith should be ready to participate in their offseason program.
"Hey listen, I'm not a doctor. I go by what they tell me," Harbaugh said. "A Lisfranc [injury] is a tear, I guess, in the ligament. It's not a tear. It's a stretch. When the swelling went down, they did a weight-bearing exam and there's more of a spread between the bones than they wanted. There's more of a stretch than they were hoping for. When they put him under anesthesia and took a look at it, Dr. Anderson decided to go ahead and do the surgery."
Smith, 26, was having the best season of his career when he went down. In eight games, he allowed only 20 catches for 163 yards and no touchdowns. He also had an interception and eight passes defended.
"I feel for him," said Ravens veteran cornerback Lardarius Webb. "Like I said, I've been on the sideline before and looking in. I know how much it hurts inside to want to be out on the field. I just wish him well to get back on the field healthy and to get back, so we can continue being that great duo."
The Ravens are surrendering 263.2 passing yards per game, which ranks 24th in the NFL. After allowing Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to throw six touchdown passes last week, the Ravens made some changes in the secondary. Cornerbacks Dominique Franks and Chykie Brown were released and the team added Danny Gorrer via waivers and Tramain Jacobs from the practice squad.
Harbaugh said Gorrer and Jacobs had good weeks of practice and he expects them to play well Sunday.
"I think we took the challenge even when Jimmy was here – that we wanted to be the best [defensive backs] group, that we want to make plays," said Webb. "We want to be all over the field, but it starts with practice, starts with being on the same page and I think we're getting it together."