Ravens-Browns: Inactives and pre-game notes

The Ravens hadn't won a truly critical December game in a long time entering Week 16 of the 2018 season.

BALTIMORE — A new season brought an all-too-familiar concern for the Ravens as veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith was added to the injury report with back spasms on Sunday morning.

However, the 32-year-old Smith was still activated to play against Cleveland after coming out of the locker room two hours prior to kickoff to stretch, go through agility work, and engage in a brief discussion with defensive coaches. Transitioning to a hybrid defensive role in sub packages this season, Smith is expected to play a big part in helping slow down tight ends Austin Hooper, David Njoku, and Harrison Bryant in the Browns’ revamped offense under new head coach Kevin Stefanski.

As anticipated after logging a full practice on Friday, rookie Tyre Phillips (ankle) is active and will start at right guard to replace the retired Marshal Yanda, a daunting task for the third-round pick out of Mississippi State. After not even being on the injury report this week, veteran Matt Skura will indeed start at center less than 10 months after sustaining a serious knee injury in Week 12 of the 2019 season, an admirable accomplishment for the fourth-year lineman.

After being elevated from the practice squad, veteran safety Jordan Richards is active and expected to be a regular on special teams. He doesn’t count against the 53-man roster and can be returned to the practice squad on Monday.

Baltimore ruled out wide receiver Chris Moore (finger), running back Justice Hill (thigh), and defensive tackle Justin Madubuike (knee) on Friday, and there were no other surprises among the remaining inactives.

After ruling out cornerbacks Greedy Williams and Kevin Johnson and outside linebacker Mack Wilson on Friday, the Browns will have the services of starting center JC Tretter, who only returned to practice this week after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in August.

Sunday’s referee is Ronald Torbert.

According to Weather.com, the Sunday forecast in Baltimore calls for partly cloudy skies and temperatures reaching 80 degrees with calm winds and no chance of precipitation.

The Ravens are wearing their white jerseys with purple pants while Cleveland dons brown tops with white pants for the season opener.

Sunday marks the 43rd all-time meeting between these AFC North teams with the Ravens enjoying a major 31-11 advantage. Baltimore is 20-4 against Cleveland in the John Harbaugh era, but the teams have split the season series in each of the last two seasons.

The Ravens are trying to win their fifth consecutive Week 1 game and are 9-3 in season openers under Harbaugh.

Below are Sunday’s inactives:

QB Trace McSorley
WR Chris Moore
S Geno Stone
RB Justice Hill
G Ben Bredeson
DT Justin Madubuike

WR Donovan Peoples-Jones
CB Greedy Williams
CB Kevin Johnson
LB Mack Wilson
OT Chris Hubbard
DE Joe Jackson