Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh gives injury updates on several players including cornerback Jimmy Smith. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)
Not only did the Ravens have to play the final four games of the season without top cornerback Jimmy Smith, but the torn left Achilles tendon he suffered on Dec. 3 against the Detroit Lions might prevent him from being ready when the 2018 campaign begins.
Fast recoveries are not impossible. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs needed only five months and six days to rehabilitate a torn right Achilles tendon suffered during a pickup basketball game in 2012 and made his debut that season on Oct. 21 against the Houston Texans.
But coach John Harbaugh acknowledged Thursday morning during his end-of-season news conference that Smith’s timetable might be longer.
For the second straight offseason, head coach John Harbaugh has decided to retain much-maligned offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg despite mounting criticism about the direction of the Ravens offense.
“It’s normally a six- to eight-month injury,” Harbaugh said. “We saw how fast [Suggs] came back from his. But there’s always building back to your skill set, too. So we understand that. If you do the math, eight months will be September for Jimmy. That’s conservative. It’s really a little more than that. We’ll see where he’s at. I’m hopeful, but we’re going to have a bunch of corners here. So we have enough corners because you don’t know.”
If Smith, who used a scooter to get around Monday, is unavailable in time for the season opener, the defense will likely be content to go with Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey as the starting cornerbacks. Carr tied a career high with four interceptions and led the team with 12 pass breakups. Humphrey, the 16th overall pick in April’s draft, finished second with 11 pass breakups and added two interceptions.
In other injury news, Harbaugh said left guard Alex Lewis (torn left labrum), defensive end Brent Urban (Lisfranc foot injury), cornerback Tavon Young (torn left ACL), running back Kenneth Dixon (torn left meniscus) and rookie wide receiver Tim White (torn thumb ligaments) should be ready by the time the team begins to dive into its organized team activities.
Harbaugh also said that six-time Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda (fractured left ankle) will be given time off until training camp.
“I won’t do anything with Marshal until training camp probably, but Marshal will be ready to go long before that,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh also publicly lobbied for the organization to re-sign Urban, who is the only defensive starter who will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.