Cornerback Sean Smith, Cornerback David Amerson, and Assistant Defensive Backs Coach Rod Woodson
Through the first three games of 2016, the Baltimore Ravens may be ranked in the bottom half of the league in total passing yards, and yards per game, but the Raiders secondary isn't taking the group led by Joe Flacco lightly at all.
With a trio of offensive weapons at his disposal that all boast a different set of skills, Flacco – a Super Bowl MVP – has the ability to attack the opposing secondary in myriad ways.
Cornerback Sean Smith is well aware of the Ravens ability to attack a defense in a variety of ways, saying that the Baltimore receiving corps has "a wide variety of talent."
With Steve Smith, Sr., a resurgent Mike Wallace, and Dennis Pitta at tight end, the Ravens have the ability to attack a defense both short and with the deep ball, and Sean Smith knows they present a unique challenge to the Raiders secondary.
"You have Mike Wallace, explosive, big-play guy his entire career," said Smith. "You always have to keep an eye on him. I think their offensive coordinator [Marc Trestman] does a great job of using him, not just in the vertical game, but surprising enough, they do try to find him in the intermediate game and let him run after the catch, and try to use some of that speed. You've got Steve, a veteran guy, who's coming off injury, but still explosive, who's able to find windows, and zones, and things like that, and breaks all kinds of tackles, so the secondary has a big challenge ahead of us."
In addition to the combination of receiving threats, Flacco himself is a quality quarterback, who has the ability to create plays in tight situations.
"Flacco is a guy that can make all the throws," Smith explained. "He doesn't need much time. He can just be standing in the pocket, and just sling that thing 50 yards across the field. Tight coverage is what we're definitely going to need again this week, but again, as long as we go out there and just be who we are, and do what we do, we should be alright."
The dynamic nature of the Ravens aerial assault has also not been lost on defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., and he knows that top to bottom, his group has a big challenge upcoming Sunday.
"[Joe] Flacco's a guy that's very accurate," Norton said. "Steve Smith [Sr.], he always has a chip on his shoulder, still does all the things he's been able to do, catch and run, playing with a lot of attitude. The team is winning. They're winning a certain way and they're going to be a really strong challenge for us."
S – Nate Allen – Quad – Did not participate
T – Austin Howard – Ankle – Did not participate
C – Rodney Hudson – Knee – Limited
RB – Taiwan Jones – Knee – Limited
T – Matt McCants – Limited
T – Menelik Watson – Calf – Did not participate
-After missing Wednesday's session, both center Rodney Hudson and running back Taiwan Jones were back to work on the field Thursday afternoon.
-While Hudson and Jones both returned, safety Nate Allen was not able to participate Thursday's practice, after being a limited participant Wednesday.
-Linebacker Darnell Sankey signed with the Raiders practice squad Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon he was on the field with the rest of his teammates going through drills.
-NFL Network analyst Steve Wyche was also on hand to watch Thursday's practice. Additionally, Wyche will be in Baltimore Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium when the Silver and Black take on the Ravens.
Steve Wyche discussing the Raiders offense:
"They're making plays when they need to make them. They're hitting the big play. We're seeing Amari Cooper hit some big plays. Michael Crabtree's been fantastic. The passing game has been good, but the depth at running back – I know that was a concern. You've got Latavius, but they wanted some people to back [him] up. Now you have two guys hitting runs also behind him. That's working."
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave talks about the Raiders offensive line:
"They may be polite. They're gentlemen. They're professional, but across the board from Donald Penn to 'Rod' [Rodney] Hudson, our guys are physical and they're like Kelechis, so Kelechi fits right in with those guys. Nasty, and one thing they all hold in common, especially Rod Hudson who really drives that unit, he's extremely bright. The toughness, he's tough as all get out, both mentally and physically, but he's extremely bright."
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