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Ravens' Huff struggled with tackling, coverage vs. Broncos

It was an especially rough debut for Ravens free safety Michael Huff in his first game as the replacement for former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ed Reed.

Huff was unable to slow down Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas during a 49-27 loss Thursday night.

The former college basketball player caught a pair of touchdown passes.

Huff's tackling technique was shoddy, failing to wrap up, and received the lowest overall grade of any Ravens defensive player, according to Pro Football Focus.

"Anybody that knows football can see that, what it was fundamentally," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "That's exactly what it was, it was fundamental issues that he's definitely able to play better and he will. He worked very hard, and, personally, I feel good about him as a player. I'm just looking forward to seeing how he bounces back. I think he'l do well."

A former Oakland Raiders starter signed to a three-year, $6 million contract this offseason, Huff was accountable for the breakdowns.

"We didn't make the plays that we needed to make," Huff said.  "Me, personally, if we want to be the defense we want to be, I personally have to play better."

It marked the first game for the Ravens with two new starting safeties, Huff and strong safety James Ihedigbo.

It was also the first game for the Ravens' revamped defense without retired middle linebacker Ray Lewis and Reed, who now plays for the Houston Texans after signing a three-year, $15 million contract in March.

"It takes time," said cornerback Corey Graham, who had trouble with Wes Welker in single coverage. "Anything in football takes time, especially when you’re trying to get 11 people to be on the same page at once.

"So, it takes time. When you lose guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, obviously it’s big, but I feel like we definitely have the guys to get it done. We’ve just got to get on the same page, find a way to go out there and win games.”

awilson@baltsun.com

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