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Will Hill to remain Ravens' starting safety going forward

Will Hill breaks up a pass intended for Markus Wheaton on Sunday night.
Will Hill breaks up a pass intended for Markus Wheaton on Sunday night. (Joe Sargent, Getty Images)

Will Hill is about to grow accustomed to lining up as one of the Ravens' starting safeties.

The former New York Giants standout will remain a starter going forward, defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. Hill has played in three games since returning from a six-game suspension for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy, and he made his first start last week.

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"Yep, I'm planning on him being the safety," Pees said. "Our plan was to get him in there and get him playing. The only way he was going to get better was to play and play and play. So, we saw a lot of talent even when he was suspended back when he could practice and felt like when we got him back we would just get him up to speed. We're looking for him to play a lot."

Hill made his starting debut during a 43-23 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he had his struggles as he was stiff-armed in the face by Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown and fell to the ground as Brown ran away from him for a 54-yard touchdown.

Hill issued an apology via social media following the game.

"I wasn't just speaking about myself in general, I was actually speaking about the entire Ravens organization," Hill said. "I feel like the fans do deserve better. They support us wherever we go, good or bad. I feel as though myself that play, that's out of my character.

"I feel like I can play much better than I played in that game even though I made a couple of plays. You want to limit the mistakes."

Hill is a tall, rangy safety at 6 feet 1, 207 pounds. He was a blue-chip recruit for the University of Florida out of St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, N.J., but has had off-field issues as a three-time violator of NFL drug policies. When he's been on the field, he's played well.

"I pride myself on my range and my ball skills," Hill said. "For them to having that faith in me [to start], that makes me go out there and work even harder. It's just getting my confidence back."

He has 101 career tackles and two interceptions, including 72 tackles and two interceptions last season for the Giants when he was one of the highest-graded safeties in the NFL.

"He has a physical presence," Pees said. "I really do think when he gets a little more comfortable I think you're going to see some range in the deep part of the field, which is really what we need at safety. We need some guys who can help deep and go make plays on the ball. I think he has that ability. I think he's also a good tackler.

"He's a big guy. He's also a very intelligent football player. He's a little better matchup on a lot of the tight ends we face because a lot of times you get a smaller safety against these huge tight ends everybody's got. That's tough duty."

awilson@baltsun.com
twitter.com/RavensInsider

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