Ravens Have Yet Another Talented Cornerback That Will Be a 'Big Part' of Defense


There's been a lot of buzz about the Ravens cornerbacks Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr and first-round rookie Marlon Humphrey this season.

But there's yet another cornerback that Head Coach John Harbaugh praised Wednesday and said will be a "big part" of the defense moving forward.

Maurice Canady played in his first game of the season in Tennessee and had a strong performance.

He logged just nine snaps against the Titans, but that was four more than Lardarius Webb and nine more than rookie Jaylen Hill. It seems Canady may be the primary nickel corner moving forward.

"We are counting on him," Harbaugh said. "He is a very smart player, a very aware player to go with his talent."

Canady was a sixth-round pick of the Ravens last year. The 6-foot-1, 193-pound Virginia product played in four games (mostly on special teams) before being placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

When Tavon Young suffered a season-ending knee injury during this year's Organized Team Activities, Canady immediately stepped into his spot and shined in practice. He had three interceptions the same day Young went down.

Then Canady also went on the shelf, this time with a knee injury on the second day of training camp. Canady dodged a bullet with the severity of the injury, and the Ravens viewed him as one of their two players who could return from injured reserve.

As soon as Canady was eligible, he was back on the field against the Titans. According to Pro Football Focus, he was targeted with four passes and gave up just one reception for 11 yards. That catch, however, happened to be the Titans' decisive fourth-quarter touchdown.

Canady got physical with veteran Titans receiver Eric Decker at the line of scrimmage and won the battle. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota rolled right and had nobody open. However, Decker broke off in the opposite direction and one of Canady's teammates inadvertently bumped into the cornerback, leaving Decker wide open for the 11-yard score.

"I can't kick myself because, when you look at the play, I jacked the guy up. He was off his feet. That's just football; it happens," Canady said. "Overall, it went pretty well. I was able to get my hands on some guys and play Ravens football. It was hard-nosed, blue collar."

Canady showed his physicality, speed and comfort playing inside at nickel. He was also one of the secondary's best ball hawks in practices, so there may be more fireworks to come.

"Maurice has really not skipped a beat from training camp," Harbaugh said. "He stepped right in to practice and played exactly how he played during training camp. What a credit to him and his rehab and the trainers and the strength coaches to have him ready, and for his mindset."

Safety Eric Weddle said Canady's return gives the defense even more flexibility. If certain players are better blitzers, they can blitz. Cover guys can cover.

Playing amidst a group of talented cornerbacks, Canady knows he has to do a lot to stand out. But he's prepared to do so to prove he can be a difference-maker as the Ravens defense looks to take the next step in the team's playoff push.

"You cannot have a bad day in this secondary," he said. "It's a thrill to go out there with those guys each and every day."

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