Essentially, it was thought that the back injury that Ravens star cornerback Lardarius Webb suffered during training camp last week wasn’t serious. However, as it occurs with many injuries, it has lingered; and due to this Webb will miss at least the first two games of the preseason.
This came at a very unfortunate time as both third-year cornerbacks Asa Jackson and Chykie Brown were coming into their zone and were looking to be great compliments to Webb and former first-round pick Jimmy Smith. However, if Webb is to miss some time during the regular season, they would be relied on to be more than just a third cornerback. Rather, they would need to fill a void at the starting role.
Not only that, Webb’s injury forces third-year corner Jimmy Smith into the number one spot. That wouldn’t be the best situation for the Ravens as Smith has not performed well through the course of his career until he showed a late surge of talent in 2013.
In short: if Webb were to miss some time, two players that haven’t started a single NFL game (Asa Jackson and Chykie Brown) would be the starter, the other player would have to be the third corner, and Jimmy Smith, who has only started 16 games in his career, would be the number one starter. This is why the Ravens are crossing their fingers for Webb to be healthy.
They also have second-year man Matt Elam set to start at the free safety position, and although Elam is extremely talented, he is inexperienced. Same goes for rookie Terrence Brooks who could potentially be the starting strong safety. They need Webb both for his talent and leadership.
A secondary consisting of Matt Elam, Jimmy Smith, Chykie Brown, Asa Jackson and either Terrence Brooks or Darian Stewart is not what the Ravens envisioned. It’s not terrible when you look at it but it just comes to show what a substantial difference one player can make to a specific position. At times, Webb has been considered to be one of the best corners in the league, so just think about it like this: What would the Cleveland Browns secondary be without Joe Haden? Although Webb isn’t quite as talented as Haden, he might very well have just as large an impact upon his respective team.
This is not the first time that Webb has suffered an injury in his career that has caused him to miss time, nor is it the second time. Two years after tearing his ACL in his rookie year, he tore it again in the same leg. He has come back with strong performances both times,so at least that is good news for the Ravens. They also have a lot of depth, and although none of the cornerbacks on the roster besides Webb are proven commodities, they can turn to another if a first choice doesn’t work out.
However, Webb is only supposed to miss two preseason games, and hopefully he won’t miss more. If he starts opening day and plays as well as he has in the past, it shouldn’t be a concern for the Ravens secondary.