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Expect Lardarius Webb To Play More Safety


The Ravens are in dire need of a ball-hawking safety, and they think they've found him at cornerback.

In Sunday's 22-20 loss to Jacksonville, cornerback Lardarius Webb played safety on several occasions during deep Cover-2 coverages when the Ravens used five defensive backs.

Baltimore pulled the trigger on the move during the bye week as it tried to find ways to generate more turnovers.

The Ravens entered Sunday's game tied with the NFL's fewest takeaways (four) with the Dallas Cowboys. They hadn't gotten a turnover since Week 3 against the Bengals.

"You watch 'Webby' – and you watch how he plays – and we felt like he could be a factor in the backend as far as chasing balls and being a ball hawk," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He may be kind of a natural that way."

Sunday's game provided more evidence that Webb is the secondary's best ball hawk.

Webb made a spectacular lunging interception while playing cornerback as he broke in front of Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns on a comeback route. Meanwhile, the Ravens defensive backs continued to drop their opportunities at picks.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith saw a pick-six go off his hands and also felt he could have had another pick later in the game. Safety Kendrick Lewis dropped what should have been a game-ending interception on the Jaguars' final drive.

The Ravens tried Webb out at safety during Tuesday and Wednesday's practices last week and Harbaugh said he looked good, so the coaches built a "couple" packages for him. The Ravens used him as an outside cornerback, slot cornerback and at free safety.

At the very least, it's something the opponent must spend time preparing for.

"They had a tougher time knowing where he was going to be, and I really think that's something we can build on going forward," Harbaugh said.

Webb leads the Ravens in career interceptions. He has 11 during his seven seasons, although Sunday's was his first of the year. Smith leads the team this season with two interceptions and Lewis has yet to notch a turnover after having two picks and three forced fumbles last year in Houston.

The Ravens also made some other subtle changes on defense coming out of the bye.

Inside linebacker Arthur Brown got his first defensive snaps since 2013. He entered the game in third-and-long situations and helped hold the Jaguars to just one first-down conversion in those opportunities. Brown made one tackle.

"He played fast. Arthur did a good job – played fast and was excited to be out there," Harbaugh said.

"[He] ran to the ball, made a couple plays – nothing spectacular, but nothing that made you concerned, either. He had done a really good job in practice, and Arthur deserved a little more playing time; and he did well with it."

Harbaugh was asked whether he'd like to see more action for young players down the stretch as the Ravens sit at 2-7. Harbaugh said the record has nothing to do with it, but he would like to see more and more from the team's youth.

"Arthur has been playing fast; he's been playing smart in practice," Harbaugh said. "He has done a really good job with special teams, kind of proving himself there. So again, he deserves more reps there as well. And I don't care what the record would be; you'd see those guys out there."

Brown got one more snap than second-year inside linebacker Zachary Orr (eight snaps). While linebacker C.J. Mosley often dropped in zone coverage or spied, Orr was used more to rush the quarterback.

Orr had a key pass deflection to force a Jags punt on their next-to-last drive and nearly picked up a sack, but Elvis Dumervil beat him by a split second.

"We feel like we've got the best linebacker group in the league, starting with [Daryl Smith] and C.J.," Orr said. "Me and [Brown] feel like whenever we're called into play, we can come help and contribute. We've always had that confidence and now we're getting the chance."

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