Breaking Down Lardarius Webb’s First Extended Action


Sep 15, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb (21) prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Lardarius Webb made his triumphant return to the gridiron against the Indianapolis Colts. Sort of. Webb played his first extended and looked much more fluid athletically after a horrendous cameo two weeks earlier against the Cleveland Browns.

That’s the good news. Webb looked spry, quick and active. As usual, his run support was strong, as he was not afraid to mix it up. Of course, with the secondary struggling so badly in coverage, his performance in the passing game was much more important.

And it was mixed, to put it mildly. Dean Pees called a mixture of man and zone coverage, so we had a chance to view Webb in both.

Webb definitely looked better in man, which was not surprising. He has always had natural cover ability, and with his quickness having mostly returned, Webb was able to stick with his man effectively. He looked a little rusty with the ball in the air at times, such as one play in which he narrowly escaped being called with pass interference. But all in all, his performance in man coverage was sound.

Zone was where Webb struggled. Especially in what appeared to be quarters coverage, with the outside corners and the safeties each taking a deep quarter of the field, Webb struggled with balls thrown in front of him. He was beaten several times by reacting slowly to throws in front of him. Hopefully the rust wears off a bit as he gets more action.

According to Pro Football Focus (subscription needed), Webb gave up the most yardage on the team, giving up seven receptions for 91 yards. That sounds about right, but keep in mind how far off the ball Webb was at times. While Pees has called aggressive coverages more frequently, the corners still line up off the ball more often than not. That alone gave the Colts some free catches.

Webb should continue to improve as his flexibility and athleticism return, which is great news for the Ravens’ defense. They still need help at cornerback, especially after the news of Asa Jackson‘s injury, but Webby makes the need less dire.