OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith missed his second straight practice Oct. 5 with an Achilles injury, leaving his availability for the Oct. 8 game at the Oakland Raiders very much in question.
Head coach John Harbaugh does not meet with the media on Thursdays, so there was no official word from the coaching staff regarding Smith's injury, and Smith declined to be interviewed in the locker room.
Smith was on the field for the final series against the Pittsburgh Steelers Oct. 1 but was replaced by rookie Marlon Humphrey mid-series. There was no clear indication of an injury at the time, but losing its top cornerback would be another significant blow to a team reeling with injuries.
If Smith is unavailable, Humphrey, the Ravens' top draft pick this past spring, would be in line for his first start. Humphrey has six tackles and three passes defensed during the first four games, and has seen his snap count increase in each game. He played nine snaps in the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and was on the field for 28 defensive snaps against the Steelers.
Against Pittsburgh, Humphrey was frequently matched up against Antonio Brown and held his own against the All-Pro receiver.
"I have all the confidence in the world in Marlon," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said after practice Oct. 5. "He's fast, physical, big, uses his hands, and he's into the gameplan, all the things you want a DB to possess. He's a really good player, really good talent. I think we've done a good job of bringing him along and not just throwing him in there too fast."
The Raiders will be starting EJ Manuel at quarterback in place of injured starter Derek Carr, but they have a pair of dangerous outside receivers in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, each of whom topped 1,000 yards last season. Crabtree missed last week's game with a chest injury but is expected to return this week. Crabtree had three touchdown catches against the Ravens last year, and Cooper had seven catches for 109 yards and a 68-yard touchdown against the Ravens in 2015.
Smith's absence late last season because of an ankle injury suffered against the New England Patriots in Week 14 was deeply felt by the Ravens, who surrendered 21 fourth-quarter points in a Christmas Day loss to the Steelers that eliminated the Ravens from playoff contention. After beginning the season 7-5, the Ravens lost three of their last four games, surrendering 28.5 points a game.
Smith also had to leave last year's game against the New York Giants because of a concussion, and with Smith sidelined, Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. torched the Ravens in the second half for 211 yards and two touchdowns during a 27-23 Giants win.
Injuries have slowed Smith throughout his career. He missed eight games in 2014 and five last season.
The Ravens' defense is also expected to be without starting defensive tackle Brandon Williams, who has missed the past two games with a foot injury, and starting defensive end Brent Urban, who is on injured reserve with a Lisfranc foot injury.
MORNHINWEG: CONFIDENCE AT 'ALL-TIME HIGH':
One day after quarterback Joe Flacco said "
our confidence level can be higher
," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said the confidence of his unit is "at an all-time high." When asked about his struggling offense, Mornhinweg said, "Confidence is a great weapon. I think it's the best weapon known to mankind. Confidence at an all-time high." The Ravens rank 30th in total offense, last in passing offense, and have been outscored 42-0 in the first half of their past two games.
B. WILLIAMS REMAINS SIDELINED: Defensive tackle Brandon Williams missed practice again with a foot injury, and it appears likely he will miss this third straight game. Tight ends Ben Watson (calf) and Maxx Williams (ankle) were also not present at the open portion of practice, though Williams was seen leaving the field at the end of the workout. Cornerback Lardarius Webb returned to action after missing practice Oct. 4.