Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb boasted during the offseason that the Ravens have the best secondary in the NFL, and he isn't backing off that claim today. Many of his buddies in the secondary, including cornerback Cary Williams and strong safety Bernard Pollard, have gotten his back, too, when asked for a reaction to Webb's comments.
"If I wasn't to piggyback that, I would be wrong," Pollard said. "I think we have a really, really good secondary. We have a Hall-of-Famer at free safety, really good guys on the outside and I'm kind of a piece of the puzzle. So we all complement each other very well."
Webb was likely envisioning 6-foot-1 cornerback Cary Williams and 6-foot-2 cornerback Jimmy Smith, a former first-round draft pick, running stride-for-stride with receivers on outside while Webb blanketed the slot and safeties Ed Reed and Pollard filled in the gaps.
That quintet of defensive backs emerged as a major strength in 2011, as the Ravens ranked fourth in passing defense and allowed 6.4 yards per pass attempt, tied for third in the league.
But there was one player who spoke up as -- in this case an unlikely -- voice of caution when it comes to the Ravens defensive backs not getting too far ahead of themselves.
"I think we have a very, very talented secondary," said Smith, a dimple-faced 24-year-old cornerback. "We can be great if we execute the plays, but it's all going to be said on field more than us just talking about it. On paper we look good, but a lot of teams look good on paper. It's about doing it on the field."