After a rocky start against the Atlanta Falcons a week ago, the Ravens secondary gets a shot to make amends when wide receiver Calvin Johnson, quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions visit M&T Bank Stadium on Friday night.
But heading into the second of four preseason games, cornerback Lardarius Webb cautioned against putting too much weight on an exhibition that has no impact on the regular season.
“I’m looking to go against everybody. It’s not just Megatron,” Webb said, referring to Johnson’s nickname. “But it’s going to be a nice challenge. Going against one of the best receivers in the league, why not start it off in the preseason going against him and getting your confidence up and getting used to the game? It’s going to be a nice test for us because Stafford is one hell of a quarterback, and I think he does a great job of running that offense. So this week is going to be a great test for our defense.”
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Johnson, who returned to Lions practice Tuesday with his left index finger taped, led the NFL last year in receiving yards (1,681) and his 16 touchdown catches were just one shy of the league pace set by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Stafford ranked third in the league in passing yards (5,038) and was just one of three passers to break the 5,000-yard mark.
The duo should test a secondary that looked a little shaky in the 31-17 win against the Falcons. In that game, quarterback Matt Ryan completed his first six passes en route to going 9-of-13 for 155 yards, and wide receiver Julio Jones caught six balls for 109 yards, including a seven-yard strike for the game’s first touchdown.
Webb said the defensive players are not worried about repeating that performance Friday night.
“It was the first game,” he noted. “We were kind of anxious for a lot of stuff. Not really looking at those deep, explosive plays. But this week, I think we’ve got our focus together, get settled in a little bit more, and I think we’re ready.”