By Edward Lee
8:00 AM EDT, September 4, 2012
For each of the past two seasons, Lardarius Webb has returned the lion’s share of the Ravens’ punts, averaging 9.8 yards on 51 returns and scoring a 68-yard touchdown against the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 4.
But last year, Webb emerged as the team’s top cornerback, intercepting five passes in the regular season and three more in the playoffs, recording one sack, and making 55 tackles.
His value to the defense would seem to be a higher priority than his contributions on punt return, where he is the target of 11 opposing players running at full speed to tackle him. But Webb said he has complete trust in the coaches that they are not unnecessarily putting him in harm’s way.
“I think the coaches and ownership are smart enough to know what they’re doing,” he said last week. “That’s not to say that they can prevent injuries, but they know they’re not going to have me out there full-time. But sometimes our team might need it, and it’s not about what can happen. It’s about getting the ‘W.’ So I think they’ll do a great job of monitoring it.”
Webb is expected to split time with wide receiver Jacoby Jones on punt returns this season – an arrangement that he has no complaints about. But Webb balked slightly when asked hypothetically his reaction if the coaches pulled him off punt returns.
“I would agree with it, but I would be like, ‘Man, naw! Don’t do me like that!’” he said with a smile. “But I would go along with whatever the coaches say. Even if I’m not out there, I’m still going to go out and practice it and still go catch them and just be there to help the young guys out.”
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