"I think he's going to be back to his old self that we saw a couple of years ago," DeCosta said. "I was astounded and amazed at how he came back last year. I think you're going to see Haloti Ngata playing dominant football again and Lardarius Webb is going to come back and play great for us."

Webb is coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee suffered last October against the Dallas Cowboys, but expects to make a full recovery from a major knee injury for the second time. Webb tore the ACL in his right knee as a rookie.

"He's been through this before," DeCosta said. "He's working extremely hard. He's there every single day. He's got a great attitude. He's focused. He's dialed in. We've got to wait and see. He's got the right attitude, work ethic and desire to be on the field.

"You see faster recoveries. You see guys come back basically to the player they were before. A lot has to do with the individual. We've got phenomenal doctors and trainers. It's not easy to do, but these guys are world-class athletes. If a guy has the right mentality, they can do it pretty quickly."

The Ravens re-signed offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie to a two-year contract worth up to $7 million last week, a transaction that means the offensive line has back four of five starters from the Super Bowl.

McKinnie made the Pro Bowl once with the Minnesota Vikings, but the 6-foot-8, 354-pounder has battled weight and conditioning issues. He regained his starting left tackle position in the playoffs after being replaced during the regular season by Michael Oher, who shifted to right tackle during the postseason.

"I haven't seen Bryant, but I think he's very excited to be back in Baltimore," DeCosta said. "I think he's looking forward to kind of building on that momentum of how he played last year. We feel very good about the depth we have on the offensive line now, probably more depth than we've had in quite some time.

"We have a good young nucleus. I think Bryant obviously is a talented guy, a critical piece to the puzzle in the playoffs. We're excited to see him in the next few weeks. He helps us. He makes us a better football team."

The Ravens have overhauled their roster significantly, acquiring outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and free safety Michael Huff and defensive linemen Chris Canty and Marcus Spears.

Besides Reed leaving and Lewis and center Matt Birk retiring, they lost the following players in free agency: linebackers Dannell Ellerbe (Miami Dolphins), Paul Kruger (Cleveland Browns) and cornerback Cary Williams (Philadelphia Eagles).

"I regret losing all those players, all those guys helped us win the Super Bowl and contributed greatly," DeCosta said. "All those guys were extremely significant in their contributions and they will forever be Baltimore Ravens. They were big losses for us, each and every one of them, and they will always be Super Bowl winners in Baltimore."

awilson@baltsun.com

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