Seconday Working To Back Up Prediction


Outside of those players at the Under Armour Performance Center rehabbing, almost all the Ravens are enjoying their last few days before training camp.

But while their peers and coaches have been gone, four members of the team's secondary have been frequent workout warriors at the complex.

Cornerbacks Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith and Corey Graham, and safety Bernard Pollard have spent the past few weeks getting a jump start on camp.

Their mission: to back up Webb's prediction about becoming the best secondary in the NFL.

"You really can't just speak something and not be ready to back it up," Webb said after getting in a lifting session and some field work on Wednesday.

"We're here grinding together, putting in work together, being together. We all want to be great."

The group brought in their own trainer to work with them since coaches are not permitted to be with the players during this down time. They also coach up each other.

Webb said that Smith tells him every day that he wants to be a Pro Bowler next season. Webb, who was considered a snub last season by some analysts after recording 20 pass deflections and five interceptions, tells Smith the same.

"When we're working out, we remind each other of that," Webb said. "We're pushing each other knowing we're two Pro Bowl corners. You know they're only going to pick one player off a team, but we both want to get there."

The group is also assimilating Graham, who was signed after five years in Chicago's Cover-2 system, into the Ravens' way of doing things. Graham appears to be competing for the fourth cornerback spot with Danny Gorrer and Chykie Brown.

"Those guys know the techniques they use here, so it's good for me to get out there and work on different things," Graham said. "They can be like, 'Well we don't really do it like that here,' and show me what the coaches want. We pick each other's brains."

"I think we've become closer working out here," Webb added. "We're grabbing that bond, I can tell."

Ed Reed hasn't been participated in team activities, but Webb said he understands because, "Ed is legendary." Cary Williams, who is coming back from hip surgery, has been working out in Tennessee, the same place he did last year when he came into camp in great shape.

Webb accounts for both teammates next season, and stands by his words about the Ravens having the best secondary in the league.

"I meant what I said," he stated. "I really do believe we have those guys with Jimmy and Cary on the outside and me on the inside. With those guys, it's really hard to believe we're not the best. I see their skills every day. With Bernard and Ed Reed in the back, show me another group who is better."

The Ravens ranked fourth in the NFL last year in average passing yards allowed (196.2). They may have to be even better this season if Baltimore is going to remain in the top tier of defenses overall.

Thanks in large part to Terrell Suggs' 14 sacks last year, the Ravens had the most sacks in the AFC (48) and were tied for the third-most in the league.

With Suggs suffering an Achilles tendon injury, Baltimore's talented secondary may be relied upon to cover receivers for more time to allow the Ravens' other pass rushers to get to the quarterback.

"It's good to have Cary and Jimmy Smith back there to help with that," Webb said. "But we're going to need that pass rush though. We can't cover anybody for five seconds. I don't care how [New York Jets cornerback Darrelle] Revis you might be."

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