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Ravens Playing It Safe With Marlon Humphrey's 'Leg Issue'

Posted Nov 28, 2017

The first-round pick played just seven snaps against the Houston Texans as the Ravens didn't want to risk further injury.

First-round pick Marlon Humphrey spent the majority of Monday night’s victory against the Houston Texans watching from the sideline.

The cornerback played just seven snaps, and Head Coach John Harbaugh revealed after the win that the reduction in playing time was the result of Humphrey dealing with a minor injury.

“He had a little tweak in there – he has been battling some leg issues,” Harbaugh said. “I just decided, let’s play it safe.”

Humphrey was coming off a game in Green Bay where he played 49 snaps, his second-most of the season. He dealt with a hamstring injury during training camp and the preseason, but Harbaugh didn’t indicate whether the current issue is related to that.

With Humphrey sidelined for most of Monday’s game, starting cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr saw increased reps. They hardly came off the field, even though they had the difficult assignment of keeping up with All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Baltimore has used Humphrey to spell Smith and Carr throughout the season, and that’s been particularly important as Smith has dealt with Achilles tendonitis nearly all year. The fact that Smith played all but four defensive snaps is an encouraging sign in his recovery.

The Ravens also gave a heavy workload to Lardarius Webb, Maurice Canady and Anthony Levine. Webb and Canady mostly manned the slot, and the versatile Levine came on the field late in the game in clear passing downs.

“That’s the good thing about having some depth,” Harbaugh said about the rotation in the secondary.

Cornerback depth is a luxury the Ravens haven’t enjoyed until this season. Over the last several years, they had gone to the street to sign free agents late in the season.

But the emergence of Humphrey and Canady, and the addition of Carr, has given them the kind of depth they have long desired. They also have undrafted rookie Jaylen Hill waiting for more opportunities, as he was a healthy scratch Monday.

As much as the Ravens want to have Humphrey available, they are pleased with the production they’ve received from the other corners.

Smith and Carr are both playing at high levels. Canady has been solid since returning from injured reserve. Levine, who has mostly been a career special teamer, made his first career interception to seal the game late in the fourth quarter. It’s been an all-around effort, and the depth of this year’s secondary allowed the Ravens to protect the group overall for the final run down the stretch of the season.

“My teammates believe in me and my coaches believe in me,” Levine said. “When I come on the field, they expect me to make my plays, and I expect to make plays. That is what I am here to do.”

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