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Lardarius Webb Expects To Make 'Great Duo' With Jimmy Smith


Jimmy Smith had a breakout campaign in 2013.

The former first-round pick has emerged as a full-time starter and was arguably the team's top defender for much of the season.

But Smith's elder counterpart is still quick to remind him who the leader of the secondary is. 

"I'm still the number one corner," Lardarius Webb said with a smile after a recent workout at the Under Armour Performance Center.

Regardless of who owns the title of the team's top cornerback, the Ravens have high expectations for both players in 2014. Webb and Smith have spent time together during their offseason training in Baltimore, and the pair could be poised to take a big leap this season.

"Jimmy is growing up another year, so me and him are going to grow up into that great duo," Webb said. "I'm so excited for this defense with the weapons we have, and how far we could go. We could be big time. We just have to put the work in."

Webb is heading into his sixth season and Smith is entering his fourth. They have solidified their starting positions in the secondary and have the potential to develop into one of the premier cornerback duos in the NFL.

Both players have earned Pro Bowl considerations, and Webb was an ascending shutdown corner before tearing his ACL midway through the 2012 season. Smith always had the talent to be a top-flight cornerback, but was snake bitten with injuries during his first two professional seasons. 

"Last [year] was his first time actually being out there and getting to play," Webb said. "He used to have Cary [Williams] in front of him, and then Corey [Graham], so he would go in on third downs. Now it was his position and he did a great job once they gave him that shot."

Webb has dealt with injuries of his own throughout his six-year career, tearing ACLs in both of his knees. He returned from the most recent injury at the beginning of last season, but admitted that it still took time for him to adjust to playing on the surgically repaired knee.

He made progress throughout the season and never had any serious setbacks, and now he's full strength for the start of voluntary workouts next week.

"I feel good. I'm feeling better than I've felt in some years," Webb said. "I've just been trying to be in here every day and training to work myself up slowly. But I'm feeling good. I'm ready."

While Webb and Smith are the anchors in the secondary, the Ravens still have a big question about who will take over the No. 3 cornerback spot that opened when Graham signed with the Buffalo Bills last month.

The Ravens have pointed to fourth-year player Chykie Brown as the likely choice, and Webb echoed that idea.

"I have my protégé Chykie Brown working right now," Webb said. "He has all the talent in the world. We're just going to keep on building and building. He's going to surprise a lot of people. It won't be a surprise for us because we know what he can do."

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