The Ravens were pretty coy throughout the preseason about who would be their primary return man. Still, it was moderately surprising to see Steve Smith Sr., the team's No.1 receiver, go back to field the Broncos' first punt.
Smith was once considered one of the league's top return men, but before Sunday, he hadn't fielded a punt since the 2010 season. Against the Broncos, he returned two of them, gaining a total 32 yards.
Coach John Harbaugh used wide receiver Michael Campanaro as the kick returner, but the former River Hill standout didn't get an opportunity for a return. All six of Brandon McManus' kickoffs were touchbacks.
"Steve loves doing it, and I think he likes the blocking that he's going to get from our guys," Harbaugh said. "If he gets good blocking, any kind of a playmaker wants to be out there with the ball in his hands. He wants to do it. And Camp, I didn't really want to put him in that environment, in that situation, where he hasn't done enough of it. So it's both. Camp gets more reps, he can go back there and do it."
Harbaugh was noncommittal about who will do it going forward, but he said, "I kind of like Steve back there. He looks good to me back there."
All set in San Jose
Harbaugh was upbeat about the week of preparation the team will get after the decision to stay on the West Coast in-between the Broncos and Raiders games. The team will have its first practice Tuesday at San Jose State.
"San Jose State has a great football facility for practice, lifting and those kinds of things and it's nearby," he said. "The convenience of it was really great, San Jose State was really accommodating of what we needed, so we're going to try to stay out of their way as much as we possibly can because they've got their sports going full speed, too, but they're working with us to get us a chance to get over there for a couple hours a day to work."
Harbaugh didn't seem too pleased that injured running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee) wrote on his Twitter account Sunday that he planned to be back on the field this week. "Players don't do injury reports," Harbaugh said, though he acknowledged he was optimistic that the second-year back will return soon. Taliaferro's tweet was deleted soon after Harbaugh's comments. … Harbaugh said that Smith catches the ball that he dropped in the end zone on the Ravens' final drive Sunday "99 out of 100 times." ... Harbaugh said the Ravens had some "situational plays" in the game plan for rookie wide receiver Darren Waller, but never got to them. … An MRI taken on Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr's throwing hand revealed only a sprain, Oakland coach Jack Del Rio told reporters. It's still unclear whether Carr will play Sunday.