Ravens notes: Chiefs give rookie CB Smith special attention
Veterans Cassel, Bowe make sure to test Ravens No. 1 pick
Ravens rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith wraps up receiver Dwayne Bowe in front of the Chiefs' sideline. (Getty Images / August 17, 2011)
The 27th overall pick of the draft in April, Smith got an NFL welcome from the Kansas City Chiefs, who targeted the Ravens' top pick early and often Friday night.
The combination of Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe tested Smith three times on Kansas City's opening series of the preseason contest and one more time on the offense's ensuing possession.
Bowe caught two of those passes for 40 yards. Cassel's first throw to Bowe on third down-and-5 from the Chiefs' 25-yard line appeared to be tipped by Smith, but Bowe pulled in the ball with his left hand for a 14-yard completion.
After a pair of incompletions — including a break-up by Smith — there was nothing Smith could do on the fourth pass from Cassel, who perfectly floated the ball into Bowe's hands for a 26-yard gain.
On Wednesday, coach John Harbaugh said he thought Smith was making progress despite missing several days with a groin injury.
"He's had a chance to get out there and apply some of the things he's learned about our defense to playing, and he's done really well," Harbaugh said. "He's very smart [and] he works really hard. He's learning to be a technician, and the sky is the limit."
Smith joined Cary Williams as the starting cornerbacks as Chris Carr was scratched after tweaking his left hamstring on Sunday, and Domonique Foxworth was relegated to the second defense after being limited in practice by his surgically-repaired right knee.
Déjà vu for McPhee
For the second time in as many preseason games, rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee sacked and stripped a quarterback — only to have it overturned.
On the Chiefs' second-to-last series of the first half, McPhee blew past offensive lineman Chris Harr, sacked quarterback Tyler Palko, and stripped him of the ball at Kansas City's 5-yard line. Defensive tackle Arthur Jones recovered the loose ball and returned it to the 2.
But the Chiefs challenged the ruling, and a video review ruled that Palko's left arm was moving forward when McPhee made contact. The ball was returned to the offense.
“Just got to stay humble and get after the ball,” McPhee said. “I’ve just got to stay focused because not everything goes your way.”
This is becoming a familiar occurrence for McPhee, whose sack and strip of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mike Kafka was also overturned.
Fans who stuck around until the fourth quarter got a glimpse of what rookie quarterback Tyrod Taylor can do with his feet.
On second down-and-goal from Kansas City's 5, Taylor ran a play-action bootleg right. Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston appeared to sniff out the play, but Taylor froze Houston with a shoulder shake and scampered to his right until he dove over the right pylon for the touchdown with 1:59 left.
"Coach gave me an opportunity to go out there and make a play," said Taylor, who finished 5-of-11 for 88 yards and a 73.3 passer rating. "He told me that if the corner followed the receiver on a zoom motion, try to give it a chance. I felt that I could take that one-on-one battle and make a play."
When asked if he thought Houston was going to sack him, Taylor said with a grin, "In a one-on-one situation, I never doubt myself. That's just something I've never done."