OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith will be out "multiple weeks" with a sprained knee, head coach John Harbaugh said at his weekly news conference Sept. 9, but Harbaugh said it's not likely the Ravens will place Smith on injured reserve.
Smith was hurt early in the Ravens season-opening 59-10 win against the Miami Dolphins when linebacker Patrick Onwuasor rolled into Smith while making a tackle.
"He has a Grade 2 sprain in there, so it's not going to be a season-ender by any stretch," Harbaugh said. "How many weeks it is, that depends on how fast it heals."
The Ravens could opt to put Smith on injured reserve and later designate him to return, but he would have to miss a minimum of eight games.
Harbaugh said placing Smith on IR is a possibility but added, "I don't think it's a probability right now."
Smith, 31, has played all 16 games just twice in his eight previous seasons, dealing with various injuries that included a torn Achilles, a sports hernia and injuries to his foot and ankle. Last season, Smith didn't miss any games because of injury but sat out the first four games serving a suspension.
With Smith sidelined, second-year cornerback Anthony Averett played 90 percent of the Ravens' defensive snaps at Miami and finished with a career-high four tackles and one pass breakup. The Ravens also could turn to Brandon Carr, though he could be used inside as a slot defender with starter Tavon Young out for the season with a neck injury.
Harbaugh said Averett, who played just 71 defensive snaps all season as a rookie last year, "did well. He got his legs under him a little bit. He's been playing a lot of special teams. It was hot. I think once he got his sea legs he really played well. Tight coverage, did a good job. I was happy with him."
HARBAUGH LOOKING FOR IMPROVEMENT DESPITE ROUT: Yes, the Ravens romped to a franchise-record-breaking 59-10 win and quarterback Lamar Jackson was credited with a statistically perfect passer rating of 158.3, but Harbaugh declared that the Ravens still had "many things to work on" as they prepare to face the Arizona Cardinals (0-0-1) in the home opener on Sept. 15.
"The execution was very good," Harbaugh said, "but it's going to need to be a lot better going forward."
Teams typically make their biggest improvement between the first and second game, Harbaugh said, "and we expect to make our biggest improvement that way."
The Ravens set several franchise records in the rout of the Dolphins, including points (59), touchdown passes (6), and total net yards on offense (643).
BOZEMAN PASSES TEST AT LEFT GUARD: Harbaugh praised the offensive line play and specifically said Bradley Bozeman excelled as the starting left guard, a position that had been an open, unsettled competition throughout the summer.
Bozeman, a second-year player who started one game last year, became the favorite to start after potential starter Jermaine Eluemunor was traded away late in training camp. Ben Powers, rookie Patrick Mekari and versatile veteran James Hurst were also candidates.
The Ravens reeled off 265 rushing yards on 46 carries, and Jackson had all the time he needed to carve up the Dolphins to the tune of 17-of-20 passing for 324 yards and five touchdowns, both career highs and the latter tying a franchise record.
"Technique in the run blocking and the pass blocking was good," Harbaugh said. "We picked up almost all their pressures every time."
"Bradley played really well," he added. "[He] justified the fact that he was in there as a starter."
RAVENS READY FOR RETURN OF 'GAME-WRECKER' SUGGS: Harbaugh said he doesn't expect to be swept up in any sentiment about Terrell Suggs' return to M&T Bank Stadium Sept. 15, but he acknowledged that it could be an emotional reunion in Baltimore for some of Suggs' former teammates and Ravens fans.
Suggs, the Ravens all-time leader in games played (229), returns to M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday with his new team after signing a free-agent deal with his hometown Cardinals in the offseason.
Suggs, who turns 37 in next month, had five tackles and a pair of sacks in his Cardinals debut Sept. 8, giving him 134.5 sacks in his career. That is the most of any active player and ranks 12th in NFL history. His 132.5 sacks as a Raven is far and away the franchise record.
"It will be great to see him before the game," Harbaugh said, but he added that, "once the game starts, he's a Cardinal, and we'll be looking to do the best we can against him. He's playing really well. He's a game-wrecker, and that's how we'll be treating him."
"He looks like he's in great shape, I can tell you that."