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When opponents go to three-wide sets (as they often do), Secondary Coach Chuck Pagano said he would like to keep Chris Carr at nickel.
"You would hope if [Washington and Webb] aren't ready to go that one of those other guys can step up and you can keep Chris inside and play a Cary Williams or K.J. Gerard outside," Pagano said. "That's the ideal situation."
Carr has the most experience of the group at nickel. It's a different position than outside because there's more traffic to navigate and no sideline to rely on. Instead of being on an island one-on-one, a nickel cornerback often is making more reads and quicker decisions.
"Chris is smart enough and a good enough tactician to get by outside," Pagano said. "But it's kind of like robbing Peter to pay Paul. The game's so fast inside and he has so much experience in there that you'd hate to move him out of there."
Frank Walker mostly stepped in for Washington and Webb when both were out for the Ravens' final four games. But Walker is still an unrestricted free agent. Washington has said he expects to be back practicing by training camp, but it's unknown whether he'll be game-ready by the season-opener.
That leaves Williams and Gerard as the leading candidates – with veteran signee Travis Fisher also in the mix – to fill Walker's shoes outside. Williams and Gerard have seen the majority of the reps with the first team during the Ravens' camps and Pagano said he's pleased with both players' progression.
Pagano said they have picked up the scheme well and they're both athletic with great height and length. He added that they both can be, "excellent cover guys."
But it's too early to tell much as Williams and Gerard are still inexperienced at the NFL level. Williams has played in 10 games over his two-year career and notched 20 tackles. Gerard played in three games last year but almost entirely on special teams.
"[The cornerback position] just depends on the maturation of K.J. and Cary," Pagano said. "They're still the unknown. You can only gauge a certain amount in shorts. I know they're competitive, I know the will and work ethic to be good is there. It's just going to be a matter of getting experience."
When asked who he expected to start on the outside in two-wide sets if Washington and Webb weren't healthy, Pagano said it was still a battle.
"If [Carr] is the next best guy, it would be Foxworth and Carr," Pagano said. "Those guys are all going to compete to see who wins the job."