When starting cornerback Lardarius Webb briefly left Sunday’s game in the second quarter with an injury, third cornerback Kyle Arrington moved to the outside and safety Terrence Brooks took his spot in the slot.
The only other active cornerback, rookie Tray Walker, remained on the bench, and Brooks was adjudged to be the next best option in the secondary.
This week, through trades, tryouts, and the return of Rashaan Melvin, the Ravens secondary looks like it will have more options to choose from if injuries or ineffectiveness crop back up for a defensive back group responsible for several blown coverages and missed tackles in the 37-33 loss to the Oakland Raiders.
“I’m ready to go,” said Melvin, who missed nearly a month with a thigh injury. “I feel like I’m full strength, able to compete at a high level, able to move around. I’m so excited to get back out there.”
Melvin suffered the thigh injury during the special teams portion of a light training camp practice on Aug. 24, returned that weekend to start against the Washington Redskins on Aug. 29, but then sat out until the Friday, Sept. 11 practice.
He’s been a limited participant since and missed the first two games of the season, but wasn’t listed on Wednesday’s injury report ahead of the Bengals game.
Melvin earned praise from the coaching staff, specifically defensive coordinator Dean Pees, during the preseason, and doesn’t believe that momentum was lost while he was out.
“Everything comes with time and patience,” Melvin said. “I was out rehabbing as hard as I can to get back on the field and help my team out and contribute to the team. I took it as an opportunity to rehab, cheer my teammates on, coach ‘em up, learn. That’s pretty much it, just learn from what they’re doing out there so I can better my game as well when I come back so I’m able to help them out.”
His return was only one way the Ravens augmented their secondary this week. They tried out former Denver Broncos cornerback Tony Carter on Tuesday, though he didn’t immediately sign. On Monday, the Ravens acquired cornerback Will Davis from the Miami Dolphins for a seventh-round draft pick. Davis, a third-round pick in 2013, had been “backed up a little bit” on the depth chart in Miami, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
Davis has been told he has the chance to come in and play soon.
“In talking to [executive vice president and general manager Ozzie Newsome], that was definitely the feel,” Davis said. “Like, 'We definitely want you. We’ve been watching you and we want you to come in here and play.' It's exciting when you hear that.”
“I’m coming here to compete to get some playing time. In my head, I’m aiming to get on the field however I can, whether that’s starting or nickel package or however.”
Melvin, and when he’s ready, Davis, will give defensive coordinator Dean Pees options at a position that has so far been inconsistent. The Ravens secondary made several key plays Sunday — starters Webb and Jimmy Smith had multiple pass breakups each — but the unit was plagued by penalties and coverage lapses.
Arrington, too, struggled against the Raiders’ bigger receivers, especially in his limited run on the outside.
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.