Baltimore Ravens Secondary: Best and Worst Case Scenarios


Sep 7, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) runs through Baltimore Ravens defensive back Chykie Brown (23) tackle during the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Through four games, the Baltimore Ravens secondary has gone through the worst-case scenario. Matt Elam has regressed, Darian Stewart has shown very little, Lardarius Webb is injured and the Ravens only have two functioning corners right now. What a nightmare.

The worst-case scenario could continue to play out. But there is hope for the future as well. Here’s a look at the best and worst-case scenarios as the Ravens try to sort out their secondary.

Worst-case Scenario

Hard to believe, but things actually could get worse in the Ravens’ secondary. The obvious way would be if Jimmy Smith, the lone plus defender in the defensive backfield, goes down. But even if Smith continues to play at a Pro Bowl level, the secondary could continue to be awful.

In this scenario, Will Hill either is rusty when he plays or doesn’t earn playing time at all. A lot of the optimism surrounding the Ravens’ secondary is based on Hill returning from suspension and excelling. There is no guarantee that’s going to happen.

Terrence Brooks, despite a promising debut, would struggle in deep coverage. He was not tested very much against Carolina, so he remains a question mark. The skills are there, but whether or not they will translate to the NFL remains to be seen.

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Lardarius Webb would continue to struggle with a back injury, never regaining the form that made him a borderline Pro Bowler. With no Webb in the picture, the Ravens would be forced to start Smith and Asa Jackson while playing either a safety or Chykie Brown as the third corner. Neither is desirable at nickel corner.

Matt Elam would be forced to continue to play out of position, either as a third corner or as a deep safety. Darian Stewart, meanwhile, would continue to be just a guy.

In this disastrous scenario, the Ravens would go without a competent deep safety for the entire year and would essentially be two-deep at cornerback. Injuries, mismanagement or bad luck could make this a very real situation.

Best-case scenario

Call me naive, but I really believe the best-case scenario will become the reality soon enough.

In this scenario, Will Hill comes back strong from his suspension while Terrence Brooks improves every week. Elam and Hill would continue to start, but Brooks would come on the field in passing situations, pushing Elam to basically be a nickel linebacker.

This should go without saying, but Elam playing deep safety or nickel corner is never a best-case scenario. Playing his natural position, Elam would live up to his draft status and become a quality starting safety.

Lardarius Webb, even in the best-case scenario, will be a work in progress. If he’s healthy and at full strength in time for the playoffs, that’s a win for the Ravens.

By the end of the season, a secondary with three safeties who fly around the field and three competent cornerbacks is a real possibility.

All in all, Will Hill’s tape is so strong, Brooks’ first performance so competent that I think both of those guys will help a lot in the secondary. As for Webb, he remains a major question mark, but he has plenty of time to heal. Hopefully he does sooner rather than later.

Right now, the defensive backfield is the only thing holding the Ravens back from being Super Bowl contenders. If this scenario comes to pass, the Ravens are Super Bowl contenders.