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Jimmy Smith’s first game being active since Week 1 had more fanfare than substance.
The first-round rookie cornerback wasn’t used on defense in nickel packages as the Ravens turned to Danny Gorrer, who has played well in that role over the past two weeks.
Smith’s only action was on special teams, where he blocked gunners on punt returns.
“We would have liked to play Jimmy on defense more,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “We just weren’t in the kind of game where we felt we could do that. He really hasn’t played at all with just one week of practice. We didn’t feel it was the right time to put him in there.”
Smith returned to practice last week for the first time after suffering his high ankle sprain. He had two full practices on Friday and Saturday.
As Harbaugh said before the bye, fans will have to be patient with Smith’s return because it will be especially difficult for a rookie to catch up after missing four games and more than a month of practice.
Harbaugh also said Smith started getting gimpy with a sore ankle during the game, which was another reason to hold him out.
Baltimore was hoping to get the rookie’s feet wet in a game situation. The talented, big Smith could earn a larger role as the season goes on. But it’s a gradual process to get there.
“The coaches know what’s best,” Smith told reporters.
“I’ve been out for a long time. Just to throw me in there, I don’t want to say it would’ve been harsh, but in a game like this after I haven’t been playing for a month, that wouldn’t have been smart. If we had a comfortable lead, then OK, let me get my groove back a little.”