When the Ravens signed Corey Graham on March 23, the team thought it was getting a special-teams ace who had gone to the Pro Bowl in 2011 as a member of the Chicago Bears. The Ravens also got a capable cornerback who started a total of 10 games in 2008 and 2009 for the Bears.
So it’s not a surprise that with starter Cary Williams limited to individual drills after undergoing surgery in February to repair a torn labrum in his hip, Graham joined Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith when the defense went with its nickel package during the team’s mandatory, three-day minicamp.
Graham, 26, said the coaches gave him no assurances about playing defense, but he said he’s eager to contribute.
“You just want to play, to be honest,” he said. “You want to somehow help the team win. Obviously, I want to play on defense and get a chance -- whether it’s nickel, dime, whatever. You just want to find a way to get on the field and help the team win. There’s no specific position that I want to do. I just want to find a way to get out there and help the team win any way that I can. Whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to try to do.”
Graham spent all five previous seasons in Chicago, which implements a Cover-2 scheme in coverage. The defensive alignment, which asks the cornerbacks to run with the receivers and then hand them off to two safeties in deep coverage, differs from the Ravens’ system, which emphasizes man-to-man coverage but can also switch to zone at a moment’s notice.
Graham said he’s getting acclimated to the Ravens’ style.
“Obviously, this is a pretty big difference from a Cover-2 system, but I’m a pretty smart guy,” he said. “I can pick it up pretty well. You’ve just got to go out there, get comfortable, get used to things, and make little adjustments. Hopefully, by the time training camp comes, you’re out there flying and getting an opportunity to make plays.”