Lardarius Webb plays like a heat-seeking missile. Pound for pound he is one of the league’s best tacklers and arguably the best of the Ravens’ defenders. Unfortunately the 180-pound corner’s kamikaze style can lead to injuries, particularly when he takes on opponents who weigh 25-plus % more than him.
Yesterday we learned from John Harbaugh that Webb will not be practicing with the team and he will not suit up for the first two preseason games.
“He’s not going to play. He probably won’t play the first two preseason games. Maybe he’ll play in the third one, maybe not. It’s [really] not that important to him. I want to get him right.”
So there’s that…
On the opposite side of Webb is Jimmy Smith who has had a very solid camp and is now showing the physicality and confidence that Ozzie Newsome and the scouting department expected when they selected him with the 27th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.
That said Smith hasn’t exactly been a poster child for injury free players in the NFL. During his 3 seasons with the Ravens Smith has missed 9 of a possible 48 regular season games. The next most experienced corner on the Ravens is Dominique Franks who has 5 career starts and then Chykie Brown, who has 3 NFL starts to his credit and has had a bad training camp.
The player battling Brown for the nickel corner job is Asa Jackson who has played in a total of 5 games during his 2 seasons in Baltimore. After Jackson there’s a collection of players who have just a tad more starting experience in the NFL as you and me.
Shifting over to safety the leader of the pack is second-year player Matt Elam. Joining Elam in protecting the back end of the defense are Darian Stewart, Terrence Brooks, Jeromy Miles and Will Hill. Hill will not be available to play until the team’s 7th game against the Falcons at M&T Bank Stadium on October 19.
Stewart has played well in camp but history tells us he struggles to remain healthy. Brooks is a rookie and Miles has 1 start since he entered the league in 2010 and is generally regarded as a special teams guy.
To say the Ravens secondary is thin would be a major understatement and given all of the above, finding secondary reinforcements, and not the scrap heap variety, has to be a primary concern of Harbaugh and Newsome.
So if you think the Ravens are waiting for the right time to pull the trigger on a right tackle investment it could still happen.
But first they need to address a defensive backfield that’s as thin as a see-thru dress.