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The Baltimore Ravens are banking on veteran wide receiver Steve Smith replicating in the regular season the preseason performance he had against the Washington Redskins in the third preseason game.

The five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver caught a game-high six passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Smith scored on a diving 24-yard reception, beating cornerback E.J. Biggers for the touchdown.

"That's kind of vintage Steve Smith," coach John Harbaugh said. "It was great to see that."

Smith was arguably the best player on the field. Smith has dominated practice sessions and plays the game with a chip on his shoulder. His chemistry with quarterback Joe Flacco is growing.

"I think this was a big step with him," Flacco said. "There's a reason he's been in the league as long as he has and it's because he goes out there and fights every day. We're getting on the same page. Every day we're getting better and better."

Signed to a three-year, $11 million contract in March after being cut by the Carolina Panthers, Smith displayed determination on a 30-yard reception where he escaped tacklers.

"Steve is a great player and I think you saw a little bit of everything tonight," Flacco said. "He catches the ball great. When he gets to it, he catches. He runs with the ball well because he's strong, he's powerful, he's quick, he's fast. He can break tackles. We're getting on the same page every day."

Smith has power, savvy and quickness working in his favor, and motivation.

"You come here in free agency, and everybody has a question: 'Will he be able to play? What kind of plays can he make?'" Smith said. "That kind of just shows that I can still play and what kind of plays that I'm going to have. People are always going to say, I don't care who it is, they're going to say, 'OK, it's great what he did over here, but he's not there anymore, what's he going to bring to the table?' So that's what I want to do is show what I bring to the table."


--The Ravens got down to the NFL roster limit of 75 players Monday.

Two of the Ravens' cuts were from their Super Bowl championship team: wide receiver LaQuan Williams and safety Omar Brown.

"Omar and LaQuan are two guys who have been here for a long time and have contributed so much to us," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "That's the toughest thing. They're going to play for other teams, I don't doubt that at all. A tough day, some tears, some hugs, and you come back out and go back to work."

The Ravens also placed three players on injured reserve: defensive ends Brent Urban (torn anterior cruciate ligament) and Kapron Lewis-Moore (torn Achilles) and offensive guard Will Rackley.

Rackley sustained a concussion during the first week of training camp and had a history of concussions when he played for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Ravens also released linebackers Austin Spitler and Nick DiMarco, offensive tackle David Mims, cornerbacks Deji Olatoye and Marrio Norman, running back Cierre Wood, punter Richie Leone and wide receiver Mike Willie. Offensive tackle Brett Van Sloten (sprained medial collateral ligament) and fullback Shaun Chapas (shoulder) were waived-injured.

The Ravens have until Saturday afternoon to get down to 53 players and will face some difficult decisions, particularly at wide receiver and in the secondary.

Harbaugh said seeing so many teammates gone tends to have an emotional effect on the remaining players.

"There's a feeling when you have fewer guys," Harbaugh said. "It started in the meeting. I walked in and I waited a little bit, and my first thought is, 'Everybody is not here. Do we have everybody?' It changes the dynamic."

--Running back Bernard Pierce suffered a mild concussion when he was hit in the head Saturday night by Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather.

Pierce didn't practice Monday. Before he can return, he has to take and pass a mandatory baseline neurological test under NFL medical guidelines governing concussions. Pierce is slated to start the first two games of the regular season during running back Ray Rice's pending suspension for violating the NFL personal-conduct policy.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that Ravens trainer Mark Smith informed him that Pierce is "feeling a lot better."

"Nowadays, with those things, I don't take any stock in that until they tell me that he's back," Harbaugh said. "The concussion thing is just hard to predict."

--Tight end Owen Daniels returned to practice, albeit on a limited basis as he just did individual drills.

The two-time Pro Bowl tight end appeared to be doing all of the usual activities with the tight ends during the open portion of practice.

"He got back out there and ran around," Harbaugh said. "We don't want to bring him back too fast and throw everything on him, but he's working his way back in."

Daniels missed the past two preseason games and weeks of practice with leg soreness that Harbaugh has repeatedly characterized as a non-injury.

Harbaugh emphasized that he expects Daniels to be a part of the team this season after signing a one-year, $1 million contract in March that includes no guaranteed money. Daniels was limited to five games last season with the Houston Texans due to a broken leg.

"I don't anticipate it affecting his status," Harbaugh said. "By definition of what's an injury, I just go by what the trainers tells me. There's no tear, there's no pull. There is swelling in the legs.

"That's probably the result of stress. Obviously he's not right, or we would have played him. I'd be surprised if he doesn't practice on Friday fully."

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Rookie free safety Terrence Brooks had a sack against the Washington Redskins and had an interception nullified due to a penalty. He's pushing veteran Darian Stewart for the starting job. At the least, Brooks has earned more playing time and is expected to play in nickel packages.


The Ravens restructured the contract of starting cornerback Lardarius Webb, reducing his 2014 salary-cap figure by $3 million, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday.

Webb hasn't practiced since hurting his lower back July 25. Coach John Harbaugh said Webb has made significant progress and could return to practice late this week.

The Baltimore Sun reported that the Ravens restructured Webb's five-year, $50 million contract by converting $4 million of his $7.5 million base salary into a signing bonus. His salary-cap hit this year is down to $7.504 million and his new base salary is $3 million, according to the newspaper.

The transaction puts the Ravens $6.95 million under the NFL salary-cap limit.

Webb's base salaries for 2015 and 2016 are $8 million each year. His new salary-cap figures for those years are $12 million, up from $11 million prior to this restructure, according to the Sun. His salary-cap figure for 2017 is $10.5 million, up from $9.5 million, and his base salary that year is $8.5 million.

--The Ravens signed cornerback Derek Cox, who was released by the Minnesota Vikings this week, to bolster their banged-up secondary.

Cox, a six-year pro, started 11 games last year for the San Diego Chargers. He made 38 tackles, seven pass defenses and one interception.

The deal is reportedly worth $755,000 with a salary-cap figure below the veteran minimum.

Cox, 27, is expected to suit up in Thursday night's final preseason game in New Orleans.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Cox signed a four-year, $20 million deal with the Chargers last March, but lost his starting job over the final five weeks and was released only a year into his deal. The Vikings picked him up in March.

Cox has 241 career tackles, 37 passes defensed and 13 interceptions.

The Ravens are thin at cornerback with Lardarius Webb (back), Jimmy Smith (chest) and Asa Jackson (ankle) sidelined. Jackson returned to the practice field in a limited capacity this week and Webb and Smith are expected back next week.

The Ravens waived undrafted rookie wide receiver Jace Davis to make room for Cox on the 75-man roster.


--SS Matt Elam didn't practice due to a relatively minor leg muscle injury from the game.

--WR Kamar Aiken didn't practice because of a migraine.

--OT Jah Reid didn't practice due to a concussion

--CB Jimmy Smith didn't practice due to a chest contusion.

--CB Lardarius Webb didn't practice due to a lower back injury.

--CB Asa Jackson didn't practice because of a sprained ankle.

--S Omar Brown was waived by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25).

--LB Nicholas DiMarco was waived by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25).

--P Richie Leone was waived by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25).

--T David Mims was waived by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25).

--CB Marrio Norman was waived by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25).

--CB Deji Olatoye was waived by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25).

--LB Austin Spitler had his contract terminated by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25).

--WR LaQuan Williams was waived by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25).

--WR Mike Willie was waived by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25).

--RB Cierre Wood was waived by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25).

--FB Shaun Chapas was waived/injured by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25). He will be placed on reserve/injured after clearing waivers.

--T Brett Van Sloten was waived/injured by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25). He will be placed on reserve/injured after clearing waivers.

--DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (Achilles) was placed on reserve/injured by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25).

--G Will Rackley (concussion) was placed on reserve/injured by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25).

--DE Brent Urbam (knee) was placed on reserve/injured by the Ravens Monday (Aug. 25).

--RB Ray Rice didn't play against the Redskins in advance of his two-game suspension for violating the NFL personal-conduct policy.

--S Anthony Levine occasionally played outside at cornerback, where he held his own against Redskins star wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

--WR Deonte Thompson caught a 21-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter on a fade route one week after he returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown.

--OG Kelechi Osemele has set his ambitions on joining teammate Marshal Yanda in the Pro Bowl.

--OT Jah Reid missed the game with a concussion.

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