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3. After a promising start, the Ravens secondary revived old concerns.
Cornerback Lardarius Webb was arguably the team's best defensive player before a knee injury ended his 2012 season. And his return against the Broncos began smashingly, with a two pass break-ups and a nifty open-field tackle on a screen pass.
Jimmy Smith also delivered tight coverage early after an up-and-down preseason.
The cracks began to show as Broncos tight end Julius Thomas abused safety Michael Huff on a second-quarter touchdown drive, pictured. Then the dam crumbled completely in the second half, with Broncos receivers beating every member of the Ravens secondary.
Corey Graham was the most frequent victim, but Webb also left Wes Welker wide open for a touchdown pass after miscommunication with Graham.
It's hard to know what to make of this. Graham and Smith both played well in last year's playoffs. Webb is an excellent player. Maybe they'll look a lot better when Peyton Manning isn't on the other side of the ball.
Or maybe Graham isn't meant to be a starting cornerback, Huff will be less dynamic than even an aged Ed Reed and Smith will remain a mixed bag.
It can't feel good for the Ravens to leave Denver with such a worst-case scenario on the table.
September 5, 2013