Ravens Update Saturday

Texans' Smith fined $7,500 for ripping off Gurode's helmet

OWINGS MILLS -- Houston Texans defensive lineman Antonio Smith has been fined $7,500 for unnecessary roughness following his altercation with Baltimore Ravens offensive guard Andre Gurode, according to AFC spokesman Corry Rush. Smith ripped off Gurode's helmet on a running play during the Ravens' 29-14 victory Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

"Specifically, on a run play, he pulled the opponents helmet off," Rush wrote in an e-mail. Smith was flagged 15 yards for a personal foul. A brief fight broke out after that incident, but Gurode was restrained from going after Smith. "He pushed me," Gurode said following the game. "I was blocking on the play and he threw a couple of punches. "I just have to find the player that I am and harness it and control it," Smith said. "I feel like he tried to finish me off with a foul. The play was over,the running back was down. "He tried to finish it off a little bit, and I just flipped him off. Then, it got out of hand after that. The only thing that I can do is just work and be a better man.".

Notebook: Torrey Smith expanding his game Jimmy Smith, Jarret Johnson upgraded to full participation

OWINGS MILLS – Torrey Smith is learning the finer points of his game, upgrading his knowledge of how to play wide receiver in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens' speedy rookie is starting to expand his repertoire, incorporating shorter and intermediate routes to go with his fly patterns.

Smith has caught nine passes for 237 yards, doing most of his damage in his first NFL start when he hauled in three touchdowns against the St. Louis Rams.

During a 29-14 victory over the Houston Texans, Smith caught a 51-yard pass as well as two shorter receptions to finish with three receptions for 84 yards.

"Just tremendous growth," offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. "Torrey, I think it has been obvious. Everybody can see it. You can see that he can see coverages now. He is not getting surprised by coverages. He is pushing the defense, he is playing fast. I think you can see the mental growth. The physical part pretty much speaks for itself.

"He is really good on shallow crosses and a lot of those things. The wide receiver screens, you have seen him get a little taste of that. He is really expanding his route tree. As I told him, now there is more tape for other guys to study. So, people are going to start looking at his stance, looking at his shoulders, looking at his hands, looking at his eyes. He has to improve. He has to get better. I think he understands that." The primary target for quarterback Joe Flacco remains former Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

However, Smith is beginning to assert himself. He leads the Ravens with a 26.3 average per catch. "It doesn't affect me much knowing they have more film on me because they know what kind of routes we have," Smith said. "I've been able to work on my technique. In college, being able to get open is based on your athleticism and not as much technique. You need to have good technique in the NFL. Here, there are little things you have to learn to help yourself out."

With improved awareness and confidence, Smith is beginning to make more of an impact. Opposing cornerbacks are showing him more respect, particularly guarding against deeper routes.

"Torrey is improving each week on his different routes," Flacco said. "Whether it's coming across the middle or starting to run comebacks, they look better. The more comfortable they get with what they're doing in this offense, the more they can focus on getting open and the little nuances of those routes, how to get open, not just run them to run them."

Despite veteran wide receiver Lee Evans still out with a left ankle injury, the Ravens now have the 13th-ranked passing game in the league. When Smith dropped a pair of throws against the Washington Redskins, people were quick, too quick, to label the second-round draft pick from the University of Maryland as a bust. "For me, it was not wanting to press," Smith said. "The turning point was the Redskins game. I was definitely pressing. I wound up dropping the two balls. You got to worry about people saying, ‘The kid can't catch a cold. When I first got here, coach [John] Harbaugh sat me down and told me, ‘Don't get too high or too low.' I've been on both sides of the equation."

INJURY REPORT: The Ravens are getting healthier, upgrading cornerback Jimmy Smith and outside linebacker Jarret Johnson to full participating on the injury report.

Smith is dealing with a left high ankle sprain that has sidelined him since getting hurt during the first game of the season.

Smith was limited in practice Thursday. Although his lateral movement is still a bit limited, there's a chance he could be active for Monday night's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. "The mental part of it, he did a great job," defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said. "He looks pretty good. Like anything, it's like starting over. You've got to knock the rust off a little bit and trust the ankle, that it is healed. Playing the position that he plays, there's a lot of starting and stopping and cutting and those types of things. So, he looks good.

"It'll be tough again. Throw him out there, and we'll see where he's at and see how he continues to progress throughout the weekend and see Monday night where he's at. He'll be OK. He'll do a good job."

Although Johnson didn't practice Thursday, he has played in a franchise record 118 games in a row. Offensive guard Ben Grubbs (right turf toe), wide receiver Lee Evans (left ankle) and strong safety Tom Zbikowski (concussion) didn't practice Friday. Cornerback Chris Carr (left hamstring) was limited again, but is improving.

Carr is nearing his return after missing two consecutive games with a recurring that has bothered him since training camp.

"It's feeling pretty good," Carr said. "So, I'm preparing like I'm going to play on Monday. If I don't feel like I'm going to be 100 percent, then I'm not going to go. If I'm up for this game, then I'm going to be ready. There's going to be no 90 percent anymore. But I'm feeling pretty good."

Carr returned to practice Thursday. "It felt good," Carr said. "It felt kind of strange. To be out there in cleats and a helmet and be out there with the guys and catching some balls, it definitely felt a little foreign. It was fine. It just felt really good to be out there and be able to run."

Carr said he'll err on the side of caution as far as whether he'll return this week. "I'm definitely going to be on the safer side of things," Carr said. "Before, I would have a little pain in practice and be 90 or 95 percent. I'm not going to do that anymore.

"With the way we're playing, it's not like our defense is last in the NFL and we need a savior and nobody is playing well. Everybody is playing well. So, I'm definitely going to be smart about it."

Once the Ravens get Smith and Carr back to work in with starters Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams, this shapes up as a deep secondary. "Hopefully, me and him stay out there for a long time because we have a lot of depth in the secondary," Carr said. "When we all got hurt and [Domonique] Foxworth got put on IR, all our depth went out the window. Hopefully, we can keep our depth, and we'll be fine for the rest of the season."

The Ravens have previously ruled out inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstrings, groin) and rookie running back Anthony Allen (thigh). Jaguars offensive tackle Eben Britton (back) and safety Courtney Greene (hamstring) didn't' practice again.

Former Ravens safety Dawan Landry (thigh) was added to the injury report Friday and was limited. A dozen Jaguars were upgraded to full participation, including running back Maurice Jones-Drew, defensive end Aaron Kampman, cornerback Rashean Mathis and fullback Greg Jones after they were limited Thursday for non-injury reasons.

Also participating fully: offensive tackles Eugene Monroe (shoulder) and Guy Whimper (hip), defensive tackle Tyson Alualu (knee) and linebacker Clint Session (elbow).

ULTIMATE RESPECT: It's not quite time for Halloween, but Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano has a healthy amount of fear and respect of Jones-Drew.

"The big thing is we've got to gang-tackle this guy," Pagano said. "He breaks a ton of tackles. You put on the tape, and this guy is like a rolling ball of butcher knives. He's scary. He runs over linebackers, he knocks guys out, he puts people to sleep.

"We've got to do a good job, as always, of setting the edge and not giving the outside. He's a downhill guy. He can bounce, jump, cut, spin. He can do everything, and we've got to get as many hats on as possible and hang on for dear life."

Pagano went on to say that Jones-Drew runs hard like imposing New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, who's about nine inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than the Jaguars' running back.

"He runs like Jacobs from the Giants, physically, but he's slight in stature," Pagano said. "Sometimes he looks like he's two-and-a-half, three-feet tall behind all those big linemen and he's hard to find. All of the sudden, there he is. "He dents you with his Riddell right on yours and he, like I said, puts you to sleep. But, it's hard to find him sometimes. So, again, we have to do a great job of knocking the line of scrimmage back and getting off blocks and taking care of him."

STRONG BOND: Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio is set to square off with his former player, Ravens All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis, Monday night. Del Rio coached the Ravens' linebackers for three years, including their Super Bowl winning squad.

"Jack was always just a true man's man, a true professional, and I think it truly comes from his experience of playing in the game himself," Lewis said. "That's kind of the way he approached work. He made work truly something that you wanted to come to every day. He's one of those coaches that's really motivating. Jack was always Jack." Del Rio still keeps a picture of Lewis and linebackers Peter Boulware and Jamie Sharper in his office in Jacksonville.

"It was an awesome three years that I spent there in Baltimore," Del Rio said. "It was a good group, guys worked hard, had a lot of passion, and it was a treat to coach a group like that." Lewis was reminded about the photograph on Del Rio's wall.

"We took that picture years ago, and, honestly, anytime you win a championship with somebody, you're going to always have those memories," Lewis said. "So, that group was special."

40 WINS: Flacco has reached the 40-win milestone in only 60 starts, including the playoffs. He's won 36 of 53 regular-season games.

"That's pretty good," Cameron said. "That kind of stuff Joe kind of expects. He is a winner. You don't bring a guy into your organization unless you think he is a winner. It's about winning. "Then, the stats come. It's not about stats first and winning second. That's what makes this guy a great young quarterback and a guy who is going to win, I think, for a long time."

WIDE OPEN?: The Ravens have said that Bryan McCann and David Reed will compete for the primary kick returner job.

McCann returned two kickoffs for a 26.5 average against the Texans as Reed was still coming off a left shoulder injury that has sidelined him since the second game of the year.

However, Reed had a 77-yard kickoff return in that game against the Tennessee Titans and led the NFL with a 29.3 kickoff return average as a rookie last season.

Now that he's back from the injury, Reed is expected to reassume those duties. However, the Ravens insist that Reed won't necessarily be reinstalled immediate.

"It's exactly what it is: it's a kick return competition," special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. "We brought Bryan McCann in here and one of the reasons we brought him in here is because he had experience and success returning kicks and punts. So far, we've seen that there's a reason why he's had success.

"He runs hard, he's got good vision, and we also have on our team others that do the same punts and kick returns. We've got competition every day in practice. It's healthy, it's good. David Reed feels it's healthy and good."

How will the Ravens determine their decision? "We make that decision every week based on how they practice, what the scheme sets up like, who the opponent is and how they kick the ball," Rosburg said. "There are a lot of different things that go into it, but those are the key factors."

NO ROOKIE HAZING: Smith said the Ravens haven't hazed him beyond older teammates like outside linebacker Terrell Suggs teasing him about being on Twitter so much. "The funny thing is guys say I'm always on Twitter, but how do they know unless they're always watching me on Twitter," Smith said. There hasn't been any kind of hazing, though. "Our team is not like that at all," Smith said. He hasn't even had to buy the veterans a fancy dinner yet. "Just Popeye's on Fridays," Smith said. "That's easy." .

Ravens Insider Top Stories