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News & Notes: Ravens Confident in Their Cornerback Depth Despite Injuries

DB Brandon Stephens
DB Brandon Stephens

The Ravens addressed their cornerback depth in the offseason, and they may need it during Sunday's home opener against the Dolphins.

Marcus Peters (knee) was a full participant in practice Thursday for the first time this season, but he hasn't played in more than a year and it remains to be seen whether he will suit up Sunday. Second-year corner Brandon Stephens (quad) didn't practice Thursday, Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey (groin) was limited, while veteran corner Kyle Fuller suffered a season-ending torn ACL in Week 1.

The Ravens drafted two cornerbacks in the fourth round, Jalyn Armour-Davis and Pepe Williams, and both could see their playing increase Sunday against the Jets. Regardless of who's in the lineup, Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald is confident Baltimore has enough secondary depth to play well.

"The thing with our team is that we're flexible enough back there where no matter what happens, we feel like we're going to end up in a good spot, and guys can play different positions," Macdonald said. "When you're making a gameplan, you can't put all your eggs in one basket, and that goes for all the positions."

The Ravens were decimated by injuries at cornerback last season, but Williams played 13 snaps on defense in Week 1 while Armour-Davis played three, and both contributed on special teams. The speed of Dolphins wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle puts extra stress on a secondary, which can force coverage mistakes. However, Macdonald like the way the Baltimore's secondary communicated against the Jets.

"The thing that I'm most pleased with is the sense of urgency from our guys about communication," Macdonald said. "Not that it wasn't there, but it really feels like the most buy-in we've felt to make calls since we got here over the last couple weeks. That's something that we're definitely harping on. You always hear the saying, 'A loud defense is a good defense,' and that's what we're trying to be."

Greg Roman Discusses Dealing With Miami's Blitz

The Dolphins' blitz pressure seriously disrupted the Ravens' offense last year during a 22-10 loss in Miami. It would be no surprise to see the Dolphins bring plenty of heat again on Sunday, and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman has thoroughly prepared for it.

"Every game, you want to look at it and learn from it – the good, the bad, the ugly," Roman said. "A lot of different things that we could have done better – a lot of different things – coaching, playing, whatever. It's really something you've got to look at kind of with a cool, cold-blooded mentality. You can't get emotional about it. You've got to really look at it strategically and fundamentally and then figure out how you can fix certain things or explain certain things better – how to practice things a little bit better."

The Dolphins blitzed more than any NFL team last year, but they disguise it well and make it difficult to recognize where the pressure will come from before the ball is snapped. It will be a test for the entire offense, one the Ravens are looking forward to after so much talk about what went wrong in Miami last year.

"They play cover zero, but they also play a lot of other things," Roman said. "They do a nice job with it. It's going to come down to preparatin, communication and execution. So, if we're good in those areas, I like our chances.

"If they're going to basically roll the dice on having everyone up [in the box] and you have to be able to hit them (big plays). I think that's definitely something you look forward to."

Ravens Want to Avoid Being Rushed by Play Clock

Too often in Week 1, the Ravens were rushed to snap the football before the play clock expired. That's a habit that can lead to penalties and turnovers, and Head Coach John Harbaugh said it's a situation the Ravens can improve.

"We'll look at where we can tighten some of those up and make them quicker and easier for Lamar [Jackson] to communicate," Harbaugh said.

Roman said he can help Jackson with the process of getting the ball snapped a little more quickly.

"You can shorten play calls; you can simplify certain things; you can do one-word things," Roman said. "Sometimes, it's good to drain the clock. People don't realize that, sometimes, but it's really good at times. I think we set the all-time NFL record for time of possession a couple years ago, and a lot of it was because of that process.

"The bottom line is we want to be efficient with how we operate, and we'd like to be at the line of scrimmage, most of the time, to where we can operate, [and] we're in front of the clock."

Oweh Dealing With More Double-Teams

After his impressive rookie season, outside linebacker Odafe Oweh said he saw more double-teams than he expected against the Jets. If that comes with territory this year, Oweh is prepared to deal with it, and the attention he draws from the outside can help funnel quarterbacks into the teeth of Baltimore's interior pass rush.

"If I'm doing my job, I'm causing pressure and causing them to step up," Oweh said. "Guys like (Justin) Madubuike and Michael Pierce, Urb (Brent Urban), Calais (Campbell) can get the sack. Obviously, they were eating on their own. I want to get my plays too, but if everyone's eating I'm good."

Oweh didn't have a sack in his final year at Penn State, but has learned more methods to cope with being double-teamed.

"I got doubled a lot at Penn State, but I didn't think it would be like that the first game of the season," Oweh said. "But it's a respect thing. I've just got to find ways to get past that."

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