Lardarius Webb Returns, Feels 'Natural' On The Field

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Cornerback Lardarius Webb hadn't played a full football game in more than nine months.

The veteran had been sidelined for most of the first four games with a back injury that occurred on the second day of training camp, and the injury had lingered much longer than initially expected.

Webb returned to the field Sunday, and played the entire game during Baltimore's 20-13 loss to the Colts. It was a significant step back for one of the Ravens' key defenders.

"I just played ball," said Webb, who played 45 snaps. "It just got back to football, something I've been doing for a long time. When I got back on the field, it wasn't any thinking. It was just natural."

The Ravens had an impressive defensive performance in Webb's return. They limited an explosive Colts offense led by quarterback Andrew Luck, which entered Sunday's game as the top-ranked unit in the NFL.


It was a strong overall showing by the defense – Luck threw a pair of interceptions – and the best news for Webb was that he didn't seem hindered by the back problem. He appeared to have his quickness and strength back, which was lacking three weeks ago when he first tried to return and end up playing just four snaps against Cleveland.

"He looked healthy," Head Coach John Harbaugh said after Sunday's game.

Webb played an important part of the defense, as the Ravens rotated him with a handful of other players in the secondary. He often rotated with safety Matt Elam, entering the field on passing downs to defend both the slot and outside receiver.

As soon as Webb took the field, Luck put him to the test. He threw Webb's direction on the corner's first snap, competing a pass to veteran receiver Reggie Wayne. After that play, Webb seemed to get more comfortable on the field.

He finished the game with six tackles, and forced a pair of incompletions when he had tight coverage on the receivers.  

"[Webb] helped us a lot," Elam said. "Having a great player like Webby back is an advantage for us. We can do more things, like blitz guys and cover more."

Webb was the Ravens' best cornerback and one of the team's best players last season before getting hurt. The Ravens were counting on him to play a key role coming into the season, and having him return to his old form could provide a significant boost for the defense.

"This defense will keep getting better," Webb said. "It's not even about me. I'm out there now, so it's not even about me. We just have to keep putting everything together and we'll be a great defense."

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