Ronnie Stanley has tangled with top pass rushers in each of his past three starts, and the Ravens left tackle’s assignment does not figure to get any easier with Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett on the horizon Sunday.
The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Stanley, who gave up a sack to Cincinnati Bengals rookie defensive end Sam Hubbard but held his own against Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller and Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree, compared the 6-4, 272-pound Garrett favorably with 6-6, 240-pound Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter.
“Maybe stronger than Danielle, but similar in terms of being long and lanky and getting off fast,” Stanley said of Garrett, who ranks fifth in the NFL in sacks with 4½. “A great athlete. … His pass rush is definitely what he gets going on [opposing] tackles. So to stop that and stop his momentum from going to the quarterback, that’s going to be huge.”
Stanley has history on his side. In their first and only meeting Dec. 17, he held Garrett to zero sacks and only one tackle in a 27-10 victory. That familiarity could come in handy.
“It’s definitely big going against someone at least once,” Stanley said. “It’s always a new challenge when you’re facing someone for the first time. When you’re going against someone again, you kind of know what they’re feeling for and what they like to do.”
J. Smith, Henry return
The defense welcomed back starting cornerback Jimmy Smith and reserve defensive tackle Willie Henry, both of whom took part in Wednesday afternoon’s practice.
Smith returned to the team Monday, one day after his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy. He was unavailable for comment before practice Wednesday.
Henry participated on a limited basis in his first practice since Aug. 23 after undergoing umbilical hernia surgery. The 2016 fourth-round pick — who had 33 tackles and 3½ sacks last season in 14 games, including three starts — will help fortify the defensive line, according to nose tackle Chris Wormley.
“It’s an extra body to rotate in, an extra body to be fresh,” he said. “Willie’s definitely our most productive big guy inside when it comes to the pass rush. So we’re looking forward to him coming back and being that spark in the middle.”
In addition to Henry, running back Alex Collins (knee) and two rookies in inside linebacker Chris Board (concussion) and tight end Hayden Hurst (stress fracture in foot) were limited Wednesday. Eight players were absent: cornerbacks Brandon Carr (knee) and rookie Anthony Averett (hamstring), defensive back Anthony Levine Sr. (hamstring) and outside linebacker Tim Williams (hamstring).
Carr was listed with the same injury last week, but still made his 164th consecutive start in Sunday night’s 26-14 victory at Pittsburgh. Levine intercepted only the second pass of his career against the Steelers, and Williams had the defense’s lone sack.
Wide receivers John Brown and Michael Crabtree, free safety Eric Weddle and right guard Marshal Yanda did not practice, but they were described as being out for non-injury-related reasons.
Carr on inside track?
The return of Smith gives the defense three starting outside cornerbacks in Carr, Smith and Marlon Humphrey. Smith has been widely regarded as the unit’s top cover cornerback, while Humphrey, who has broken up three passes this season, has validated the franchise’s decision to use its 2017 first-round pick on him.
Tavon Young has been the team’s top slot cornerback, but coach John Harbaugh did not disagree with the notion of sliding Carr — who leads the defense in pass breakups with six and has one interception — to the inside.
“He plays inside also,” Harbaugh said. “In certain coverages, both Marlon and Jimmy can go inside, too. Tavon can go outside. It’s a good situation to have a number of guys healthy that can play corner. We have a lot of confidence in all of our guys — all the way down the roster to the practice squad. So we’re excited about that, and that should help us.”
Cleveland practiced Wednesday without three starters in wide receivers Jarvis Landry (knee) and rookie Antonio Callaway (knee) and safety Damarious Randall (heel). Two more starters in Garrett (wrist) and defensive tackle Trevon Coley (wrist) were full participants. … Saturday’s game between Oklahoma and Texas will add another chapter to the Red River Shootout, and strong safety Tony Jefferson said he, rookie tight end Mark Andrews and rookie offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. — three former Oklahoma standouts — have a friendly bet on the game with kicker Justin Tucker and rookie safety DeShon Elliott. “I believe those are our two Texas guys,” Jefferson said. “So when we win, you’ll see them in a bunch of OU stuff. I’ll be gladly posting that. So beware.” For his part, Tucker was caught off-guard when approached about the bet. “Maybe we’ll do a T-shirt thing,” he said. “I’ll have to talk to him. Thanks for letting me know.” … While stating that he has not watched the Browns on “Hard Knocks” during the preseason, Harbaugh made it known how he feels about the HBO documentary series. “I never watch ‘Hard Knocks,’ ” he said. “Not a fan, not interested, couldn’t care less about ‘Hard Knocks.’ Just for the record.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Jonas Shaffer contributed to this article.