Even though fans and media have questioned whether Ravens safety Dawan Landry is completely recovered from a spinal cord concussion that ended his 2008 campaign after only little more than one game, the fourth-year veteran said that is not the case.
Landry was carted off the field in a game against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 21 of last year, and it took months before he could practice again.
"I feel good," Landry said of his recovery. "My confidence is high. I wasn't worried. I just needed to get that first hit out of the way."
That hit came all the way back on July 31, when he met 260-pound fullback Le'Ron McClain during a training camp practice.
Since then, however, Landry has been a controversial target for his recent play, even though his two interceptions are tied with Ed Reed for the Ravens' lead.
People have wondered about a return to his status as a thumper – he posted 91 tackles in 2007 – but he is fourth on the team with 28 stops.
To him, Baltimore's recent struggles against high-powered passing attacks require more than just a one-person defense.
According to Landry, communication is key.
"We'll be fine," Landry warned the panicked pundits. "We just need to communicate back there. We need to do a better job of that to limit the big plays."
As the Ravens prepare for the Denver Broncos and a pass offense that is ranked 12th in the NFL (236.0 yards per game), Landry's services will certainly be needed to stop those big plays from happening.
He seemed to be on the wrong end of a few earlier this season.
Landry's presence on the back end was questioned when Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Farve launched a 58-yard bomb to wideout Sidney Rice, who had a one-on-one matchup with cornerback Frank Walker.
On the play, Walker was flagged for pass interference, which was declined when Rice hauled in the pass, and Landry had to cover a lot of ground to get to Rice in the end.
Landry, however, said that his job on that particular snap was to take monitor the underneath route, which put Walker in the one-on-one situation.
"We just need to execute the play the way it's called," Landry said.
Walker agreed, putting the onus on himself to make a play when he's called upon.
Landry has made plays, as well.
He picked off a Philip Rivers pass in a Week 2 win over the San Diego Chargers to get the ball back and spark a scoring drive, and his interception in the following game against the Cleveland Browns also led to a score.
Now, the Ravens are coming off a bye with the ability to correct their mistakes in the entire secondary. Landry expects it to be productive.
"This bye is definitely going to help us a lot," Landry said. "We took some time to get away for a few days and get our minds off it. We came back full-strength and ready to go."