No Panic After Ravens Secondary Gets Burned


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It's the preseason, and it's against one of the most dangerous passing attacks in the league.

But the Ravens gave up big gains through the air in a second straight preseason game Friday night against the Detroit Lions in a 27-12 loss.

Last week it was Julio Jones who put up six catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. This time, it was Calvin "Megatron" Johnson who tallied five catches for 111 yards and a score.

So are the Ravens concerned with the regular season approaching?

"I don't think anything needs to change," top cornerback Lardarius Webb said. "I just think guys need to keep on competing."

Cornerback Jimmy Smith was asked how he thinks the defensive unit is coming along.

"We've got a lot to work on still, but we're still a very talented group and I think we can get the job done," he said.

While the score doesn't matter much now, the Ravens won't get a reprieve from top-flight quarterback-receiver combos once the regular season rolls around.

It starts with Cincinnati's Andy Dalton and A.J. Green on Monday Night Football to kick off the season.

The Ravens get Philadelphia's Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson in Week 2, Houston's Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson in Week 7, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace in Weeks 11 and 13 and the New York Giants' Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks in Week 16.

They'll also face quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers, and receivers Dwayne Bowe, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin.

The Lions' Johnson may be the best wideout of all of them. The 6-foot-5, 236-pounder led the NFL with 1,681 receiving yards last year.

Johnson got the best of all three of the Ravens cornerbacks. Webb started on him and gave up an 11-yard reception after Johnson shook off his tackle with ease.

Johnson then ran past Cary Williams, who took the brunt of the troubles from Jones last week, for a 57-yard gain down the left sideline. Williams didn't jam Johnson and stumbled a bit at the top of the route.

"Megatron" capped the drive by snatching an 18-yard touchdown pass over Smith's head. Smith, who was playing in his first preseason game after coming back from a back injury, lost the ball on the play.

"It was poor technique by me," Smith said. "It had nothing to do with who it was. Anybody would have caught that if I'm looking the wrong way."

While Smith was putting the mistake on himself, some of the credit does go to Johnson.

"When you're playing a great receiver like Calvin Johnson, you could throw the ball anywhere, and Johnson will go up and get it," safety Bernard Pollard said.

Johnson told reporters after the game that the Ravens were blitzing a lot, which meant Baltimore's cornerbacks were singled up in one-one-one coverage.

"When that happens, our eyes get wide and we can't wait," Johnson said.

Baltimore also pulled starting safeties Ed Reed and Pollard, the men who would provide help over the top, after the first series. Linebacker Ray Lewis and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata were also on the sidelines.

Webb came into the season saying the Ravens have the best secondary in the NFL. After two tough preseason games, he isn't making any retractions.

"I think we're nice, man," he said. "We know how to fix it, we know how to get back right. We're still here."

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