The Ravens secondary has gotten an educational experience this week, receiving extra tutoring from retired Pro Bowl cornerback Sam Madison.
Secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo had the idea of bringing in Madison to share some of his knowledge to the Ravens' defensive backs. And the four-time Pro Bowl cornerback with the Miami Dolphins is at the Ravens' training complex working with the secondary through Friday as the Ravens conclude organized team activities.
"The Ravens have got a lot of talented defensive backs," Madison said in a telephone interview. "I'm enjoying working with them on a short-term basis. These younger guys make a lot of plays. We've gone over a couple of adjustments and they're very receptive. They pick up things fast and execute them very well on the field.
"Coach Spags thought it would be a great idea to invite me up and be around the guys to sit down with them and have them pick my brain. The Ravens are a first-class organization that understands what it takes to push one another and have that bond and camaraderie. It's been fun being around them this week."
Madison is now a broadcaster for the Dolphins, and he's involved in youth coaching and interested in a career coaching in the NFL. He interned for the New York Giants last summer.
He earned a Super Bowl ring with the Giants in Super Bowl XLII, when Spagnuolo was their defensive coordinator. And the 40-year-old interned twice for the St. Louis Rams when Spagnuolo was their head coach.
In a dozen NFL seasons, Madison intercepted 38 passes and recorded 321 tackles, six forced fumbles and 63 pass deflections.
The Ravens return three starters in their secondary -- cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith and safety Matt Elam.
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"I'm really impressed with Lardarius and how Jimmy is taking on a leadership role," Madison said. "I'm really excited about the leadership they have and how coach [John] Harbaugh allows them to be themselves. What I've seen from the Ravens' guys is they're not afraid to ask questions. The older guys ask a lot of questions to make sure their game is up to par."
Madison sees Pro Bowl potential in Smith, an athletic 6-foot-2, 200-pound 2011 first-round draft pick from Colorado.
"Jimmy has the skills to do it," Madison said. "He's got everything it takes to be great. So does Lardarius. He's not an old guy, but he's the senior guy in that meeting room and he's the leader. Elam has a lot of potential. He just needs to continue learning the game and harness the talent he's got."
The Ravens also return reserve cornerbacks Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson, who are vying for the nickel back vacancy that was created when veteran Corey Graham signed with the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens haven't signed a veteran to compete for the third cornerback job and didn't draft any cornerbacks. Their plan is to continue evaluating and giving valuable practice repetitions to Brown and Jackson as they compete for Graham's old job.
"They're trying to find a way to replace Graham and they've got two good possibilities with Asa and Chykie," Madison said. "Asa can play inside and outside and Chykie can run and play in press coverage. He just needs to sharpen up on those little small details and make those plays. By not having that veteran guy in there right now, these two young guys are getting a real shot to develop right now. It's fun to watch them compete.
"They know the situation they're in because it's always talked about. Now, they have to prove themselves. They understand that to get plugged in and play, they've got to show the coaching staff that they can be that third corner and be consistent and reliable. They both have talent. They just need more experience."