Prior to the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, cornerback Lardarius Webb had insisted that he had forgotten his performance in the Ravens' seven-point loss to the Steelers in the AFC divisional round last January. His coaches apparently did the same.
Webb joined Cary Williams as a starter in the team's 35-7 demolition of Pittsburgh Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Webb led the team in tackles (11), broke up two passes, and split a sack with outside linebacker Jarret Johnson.
"I just feel like I've been working my butt off," Webb said. "I worked my butt off during the lockout, I worked my butt off during training camp, and I worked my butt off this week to ensure that I was going to start. But we're just beginning. They're still working with me, they're still getting me better. I'm still learning this position. It is great to be there. I just have to go back to work tomorrow and keep working so that I can stay starting."
Williams made five tackles and broke up one pass, and Domonique Foxworth finished with one tackle. Their performance was critical as the secondary lost cornerbacks Chris Carr and rookie Jimmy Smith to injuries.
Carr re-aggravated a left hamstring injury in the second quarter. Smith sprained his left ankle while covering the Ravens' first kickoff in the first quarter. Smith, who wore a protective brace around the foot and ankle, used crutches to leave the locker room.
Neither player returned and both declined to comment on their injuries. X-rays on Smith's ankle did not reveal a fracture, according to a team official. But another team official mentioned the possibility that Smith may have suffered a high ankle sprain, which could keep him out of the lineup for a few weeks.
So the once enviable depth the Ravens had at cornerback is now under duress. If Smith and/or Carr cannot play in Sunday's contest against the Tennessee Titans, rookie Chykie Brown, who was deactivated prior to Sunday's game, could suit up.
Williams insisted that injuries would not adversely impact the cornerbacks' play.
“I just feel like if there’s a guy who goes down, I think we have the ability to have five starters,” he said. “You put Jimmy out there, you put Webb, you put Fox out there, Chris Carr, anybody on the outside, I think we’ve got great depth this year. I think it doesn’t matter if one guy goes down. We’re just going to try to feed off each other and pick up where one left off because it’s a team effort.”