Not all elite cornerbacks are as versatile as Marlon Humphrey, able to play both outside and in the slot at an All-Pro level.
Humphrey's unique skillset becomes even more valuable to the Ravens after losing slot corner Tavon Young in Week 2 to a torn ACL. For the second straight year, a season-ending injury to Young will lead to Humphrey spending more time in the slot, depending upon the matchups that Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale wants to create.
"We haven't figured out the gameplan yet, but I'll be in there; I think some other guys will be in there," Humphrey said. "It'll be rotating all around, so I'll be outside, I'll be inside. You just never know who's going to be in there. It just depends on the formation, who they have in and what package the coaches feel like is best once it all gets settled down and we finish up the gameplan."
Playing the slot extensively last year has increased Humphrey's comfort level on the inside. Anthony Averett may also see regular snaps in the slot, and the Ravens will sort out their options this week as they prepare for the potent passing attack of the Kansas City Chiefs.
"Losing Tay was tough," Humphrey said. "Tavon's not really a guy you can replace. We call him the pit bull because he's small, but he's got a big bite. But, I think we've got the guys to be able to bounce back from it.
"When I look at that nickel position, I lean on Tay a little bit, a little bit of (Lardarius) Webb. Those are two Ravens guys that did it. Chris Harris (Los Angeles Chargers) is probably one of the best guys that can flip-flop inside and outside. You have to be really savvy. Usually my body type is not a nickel corner guy. I was able to do it alright last year. We'll try to get me in there some again."
Humphrey enjoys playing the slot because it puts him in position to be a playmaker in a variety of ways. Not only is Humphrey an excellent cover corner, he's a strong tackler and his timing on blitzes is excellent.
"The biggest thing you see from nickel corners is, you're going to be around the ball a lot," Humphrey said. "Anytime you can make a play you've got to do it."
Ronnie Stanley Says Health Not a Concern
All-Pro left guard Ronnie Stanley played against the Houston Texans in Week 2 after being listed on the injury report (hip) during the week.
Regardless of what the injury report says this week, Stanley sounded like he had every intention of playing Monday night against the Chiefs.
"I feel good, I'm in high spirits," Stanley said. "I'm definitely looking forward to this week. It's going to take a lot to keep me out of this one."
Ravens' Offensive Line Prepares for Another Challenge
The Ravens will see another elite pass rusher Monday night in Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, who has 26 sacks since the start of 2018. Baltimore surrendered four sacks against the Texans, which is more than they want to see Lamar Jackson on the ground. However, after watching the tape, Stanley said he's confident the offensive line isn't far away from playing its best.
"It's never as good as you think, it's never as bad as you think," Stanley said. "A lot of it wasn't terrible pass protection, but we know we can be cleaner, we know we can be better. We don't want our quarterback taking that many hits."
Rookie right guard Tyre Phillips has two starts under his belt, and Stanley believes the young lineman is getting better every week.
"I think he's progressing really well, especially given the circumstances of this year, the lack of time he's had to prepare and really getting those reps and experience," Stanley said. "He's learning every week. He comes out eager to learn. He's focused on not making the same mistake twice. I'm very happy with his improvement.
Takeaways Remain Focus for Defense
Baltimore's defense has four takeaways in two games, including a forced fumble by Humphrey that led to a recovery and return for a 22-yard touchdown by L.J. Fort.
Humphrey said the takeaways are no accident, because they Ravens talk about them daily in practice.
"That's one of the things we try to preach here," he said. "Try to get turnovers and try to score with them. It was good that L.J. was able to score, get our first defensive touchdown of the season. When it comes to getting the ball, I've got the best guy in the league at that in Marcus Peters. That's just a fact. Since he's been in the league, he's gotten the ball more than anybody else. Anytime I need a tip or a hint, I can go to him. Usually whatever he's thinking, he usually executes it on Sunday."
Humphrey knows that getting turnovers against the Chiefs and Mahomes would be paramount.
"There's going to be a lot of plays made against you," Humphrey said. "But then you have to just try to … When the plays come [and] you're able to make plays on these superstar quarterbacks, you have to make them."