The Sports Xchange

NFL Team Report - Baltimore Ravens - INSIDE SLANT

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."


NFL Team Report - Baltimore Ravens - NOTES, QUOTES

--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.