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Can Ravens Contain Big-Bodied WR Dwayne Bowe?

Posted Oct 4, 2012

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is 'one of the best in the game.'


The Ravens secondary has been susceptible through the first four games of the season. Baltimore currently ranks 29th in the NFL in passing yards allowed, giving up an average of 296 yards per game.

Life won’t get any easier this weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Ravens will have to face wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, regarded as one of the game’s elite receivers.

"He’s one of the best in the game,” cornerback Lardarius Webb said. "You have to respect him.”

Bowe is currently 10th in the NFL with 342 receiving yards on 25 catches. He has three receiving touchdowns on the year. Bowe has crossed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for two straight seasons, and he’s on pace to do so again this year.

The sixth-year wideout is clearly the top target for quarterback Matt Cassel, who has thrown Bowe’s way 49 times, more than double any other receiver on the roster.

"Bowe is maturing as a wide receiver,” Webb said. "He is coming into a complete wide receiver now, [from] what I’ve seen of him on film. We have to contain him.”

The 6-foot-2, 221-pound receiver is a physical presence on the edge, who has the power to beat press coverage from cornerbacks and is also able to haul in catches in tight space.

"He’s a physical guy. He’s a big guy,” cornerback Cary Williams said. "He wants to be down there, get physical. He can go up and catch the ball when he needs to.”

The Ravens have contained Bowe in the past.

The last time the Ravens faced him was in a playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium during the 2010 season. Bowe was held without a catch in the 30-7 Ravens’ victory. The only other matchup against Bowe came in 2009, where he had four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown.

The Ravens rotate the cornerbacks against opposing receivers, meaning that Williams, Webb and Jimmy Smith could all guard Bowe at some point. Williams and Smith are both big cornerbacks who match up physically with Bowe, and Webb is emerging as one of the best cover corners in the game.

Whoever ends up covering Bowe, the Ravens don’t plan to change their scheme to match up against his physical tools.

"You just have to continue to play your game and it’s not going to change my game,” Williams said. "I still want to be physical, I still want to go out and take shots and things like that.”

Williams is coming off arguably the biggest game of his career, where his third-quarter interception and touchdown return was the game-changing play in a tight victory over the Cleveland Browns. The interception was the first of Williams’ career, and now he’s looking to continue that momentum into Sunday.

"I got the monkey off my back,” Williams said. "It was great for me to continue to get better and continue to build confidence to go out there and play my game and eventually good things will happen to me."


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