If the Baltimore Ravens plan to salvage their season, they’ll need to take down the Browns on Sunday minus the services of Steve Smith.

Ruled out with a back injury, Smith’s absence leaves quarterback Joe Flacco throwing to the likes of Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown and the newly acquired Chris Givens.


“We’re excited about the opportunity for the guys who are playing because Steve is out,” said play-caller Marc Trestman, who acknowledged that Smith’s injury would shake up the game plan for Sunday, per CSN Baltimore.

“When you have Steve as a target, that’s part of how you’re calling plays certainly,” Trestman said. “We’ve got to find that kind of productivity amongst the group that’s playing, whether it’s through (running back) Justin (Forsett), or our tight ends, or our receivers, we’ve got to try to find a level of productivity to allow us to have the kind of passing game that we want to have.”

Flacco is an outrageous 13-1 against the wandering Browns, but none of those games saw the Ravens this depleted at their core skill positions. Especially without Smith, the ageless and productive target who continues to anchor this passing attack.

“It’s going to be a little bit challenging for us on offense, but it’s just the way it is,” Flacco said. “We wouldn’t want it any other way. These are the guys that are going to go out there and make plays for us, start making a name for themselves and help us win, so I’m excited about it.”

With emerging tight end Crockett Gillmore also missing Thursday’s practice with a calf injury, Baltimore’s course of action appears clear: Prepare the line for a war up front in hopes of springing Forsett for a monster day against the second-worst run defense league-wide. 

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