Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb remains ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, making significant progress in his rehabilitation, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
The scenario of Webb potentially being back on the field for the first game of the regular season against the Denver Broncos hasn't been ruled out as a possibility, per the source.
Webb isn't rushing back since getting hurt in October against the Dallas Cowboys, but has worked diligently at the Ravens' training complex ever since his knee was repaired by renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.
"It's coming along," Webb said this spring prior to the Ravens concluding offseason workouts. "I'm taking it slow. I'm working my butt off, coming along."
Entering the second year of a $50 million contract that included a $10 million signing bonus, Webb is being counted on heavily to provide leadership and a shutdown presence in the secondary for a defense that's in the midst of a major overhaul since winning the Super Bowl in February.
The Ravens lost linebacker Ray Lewis to retirement, cut strong safety Bernard Pollard and had the following players depart via free agency: free safety Ed Reed, linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger and cornerback Cary Williams.
The Ravens have acquired outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, inside linebacker Daryl Smith, defensive linemen Chris Canty and Marcus Spears and free safety Michael Huff.
Getting Webb back could spell a huge boost to a defense in transition.
"We use him a lot when we blitzed him in the slot as our nickel back," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "He was a good corner. He makes plays. He’s a good tackler. It looks like he’s a buck 50 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. He’s another guy where it’s critical we get him back, and we want him back.”
Webb tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee as a rookie against the Chicago Bears.
He made a speedy recovery from that injury, returning to play the following season.
Webb, 27, had 25 tackles, six pass deflections, one interception and a forced fumble in six starts last season prior to hurting his knee.
In four NFL seasons, the 2009 third-round draft pick from Nicholls State has 181 career tackles, eight interceptions and 41 pass deflections.
"I've stayed positive throughout this whole process," Webb told The Baltimore Sun earlier this offseason. "I'm going to be Lardarius Webb out there. I'm going to have the same heart I've always played with. I'm going to do all my part. I like being in this situation. I'm coming off a little adversity, but it just puts a chip on my shoulder.
"It's about determination and how bad I want to get back on that field. I missed out last season and I was there for the ride, but I want to go to the Super Bowl again. The Lord won't put me through anything I can't handle. I take everything in stride."