The Ravens’ defense is being retooled, and cornerback Lardarius Webb likes the parts.
How well the Ravens adjust to numerous personnel changes on defense is a great unknown. Think about the defensive standouts the Ravens lost during the offseason, most notably Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, Bernard Pollard, and Cary Williams. We’re not talking about bit players. We’re talking about a defense that could have seven or eight new starters.
Despite that turnover, Webb believes general manager Ozzie Newsome has brought in the right players who can help make the Ravens an elite defense in 2013.
“When you think about our defense, you think about the best defense in the NFL,’’ Webb told the team’s website, BaltimoreRavens.com. “That’s going to continue. With the guys that we brought in – (Elvis) Dumervil, and we still have Terrell Suggs, Haloti (Ngata), myself. We brought in a guy like Michael Huff, great individuals, hard workers, talented guys. This team’s still going to be known as a great defense, just the way we are – fast strong. We play like the Ravens. That doesn’t change, man.’’
However, the Ravens need to change for the better defensively. They ranked 17th overall defensively in 2012, the first time since 2002 that they finished out of the NFL’s top 10.
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Can Webb, recovering from a torn ACL, return to being one of the league’s best cover corners? Can rookies like linebacker Arthur Brown and safety Matt Elam be immediate impact players? Will linebacker Elvis Dumervil be as effective a pass rusher as he was with the Broncos? Will Chris Canty and Marcus Spears make the Ravens’ defense stronger against the run?
Webb is confident the Ravens’ defense will be stout. But once training camp begins, there will be plenty of questions to answer.