Lardarius Webb was becoming one of the NFL’s best all-around cornerbacks before he suffered a torn ACL in Week 6 of last season, and the Baltimore Ravens are hoping he returns to his Pro Bowl form to help compensate for all of the departures on defense.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees can’t wait to get his No. 1 cornerback into camp, and knows how important he’ll be to the team’s success in 2013:
He makes plays. He’s a good tackler. It looks like he’s a buck-fifty out there, but the guy throws his body around. He thinks he’s a linebacker. The other part of it is just the way he plays, with the tenacity that he plays with. It just brings an extra spark to that whole secondary.
Webb participated in individual drills at OTAs and minicamp, but there’s still a small chance that he could start camp on the active/PUP list. Webb;s last full season was in 2011, when he had five interceptions and returned one of them 68 yards for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns.
Speaking of the Browns, rookie defensive end/linebacker Barkevious Mingo isn’t shy about talking about his expectations for the upcoming season and made a bold prediction about Cleveland’s new-look defense under Ray Horton:
If everything is going well, I think this defense could be the best in the league. We have a lot of players that can contribute and help this team win. We’ve got a lot of rushers. We’ve got corners on the back end. We’ve got D-linemen that can hold those blocks and get off and make plays. We’ve got linebackers that can come up and tackle the run and get back in coverage as well. So we have a lot of tools that we can use.
It’s worth noting their defense ranked No. 23 last season, and has routinely been among the league’s worst nearly every season since their return to Cleveland in 1999.
It a bit of an eye-opening move, the Ravens are reportedly converting defensive lineman Pernell McPhee into an outside linebacker. It’s an odd switch for the 6-foot-3, 280-pounder, who had six sacks as a rookie DE, but managed just 1.5 last year as injuries hindered him throughout the season.