Mike Preston's observations from Wednesday's Ravens practice

Ravens starting cornerback Jimmy Smith answered a question without answering it Wednesday.

Smith has been outplayed several times over the past two games, raising speculation that he hasn’t completely healed from a ruptured Achilles tendon, which put him on injured reserve last December. There is also speculation he isn’t in game shape yet after missing the first four games for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.

There was one play in particular that showed that Smith still is having problems. Against New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, who was operating out of the slot, ran a short out-and-up on Smith for a catch and substantial gain.

Smith never got a hand on Thomas and showed no acceleration and catch-up speed. His stride wasn’t as smooth as in previous years.

“Can I answer that after the end of the season?” Smith said when asked if he had recovered from the Achilles injury.

Smith couldn’t say much because if he said yes, more teams would go after him. Instead, he said nothing, letting everyone know that obviously something is wrong.

Mosley banged up?

While on the subject of injuries, I wonder whether inside linebacker C.J. Mosley might have hurt his knee again. After playing a good game against New Orleans, he turned in a poor performance against the Carolina Panthers.

They exposed him in one-on-one coverage, and he also made shallow drops in pass coverage. He was a step slow all game, which makes me wonder whether he is hurt again.

Montgomery’s moment

Ravens coach John Harbaugh made it seem as if it was basically general manager Ozzie Newsome’s idea to acquire running back Ty Montgomery from the Green Bay Packers. But clearly Harbaugh hasn’t been happy with the running game or starting running back Alex Collins.

I am not sure Montgomery will give the Ravens’ running game a boost, but they had to try something. The offensive line is just as much to blame as Collins, but the Ravens have already used different starting lineups because of injuries. They had no depth in the preseason, and they have none now.

We’ll see whether Montgomery will have an impact. The Ravens have little to lose.

Small problem for Big Ben?

I couldn’t wait for the injury report to come out this week because I wanted to see what problem Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had coming into Sunday’s game.

He has an injured finger on his left hand. Maybe the Steelers are releasing the information because they are obligated by the league, but I knew it was going to be something.

Rush to conclusions

I was amused this week about Harbaugh’s comments on opposing teams doing some different things to thwart the Ravens’ pass rush.

Huh?

To combat a strong pass rush, most teams run screens, draws, roll-outs, sprint-outs, bootlegs and waggles, except for one team. I won’t say the name.

But honestly, did the Ravens think versatile, athletic quarterbacks such as Cam Newton and Drew Brees were going to be stationary targets in the pocket?

Really.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

twitter.com/MikePrestonSun

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