When you think of the Baltimore Ravens ferocious defense, you might think of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs. You might even think of Jarret Johnson, Cory Redding, Terrence Cody and Jameel McClain. However, if I told you prior to the 2011 season, you'd be mentioning cornerback Lardarius Webb along with those guys, you might just raise an eyebrow at that suggestion.
Not anymore. After taking an interception back 73 yards on national television in the Ravens 34-17 beatdown of the New York Jets last week, Webb introduced himself to the rest of the league as a force to be reckoned with on this record-setting defense. Catching the ball in stride, he picked off Jets QB Mark Sanchez and put the final dagger in New York, who might have gotten back in the game as they had just recovered a Ravens fumble and were deep in Baltimore territory.
Webb had received criticism for his pass coverage earlier in the season and while he has always not been afraid to throw his 5'10", 182 pound body into defending the running game, it appeared at times that opposing quarterbacks were actually targeting him as part of their passing gameplan.
That will obvious change, as Webb has slowly but surely became a solid cornerback and if your fantasy league includes scoring for Individual Defensive Players (IDPs), Webb should be on your "Watch List" if not already on your team. With rookie CB Jimmy Smith looking to return from his high ankle sprain after this Bye week, the Ravens will have the luxury of trying to figure out what pair of cornerbacks to start when the Houston Texans come to town next Sunday afternoon.
Cary Williams has played well in his starting role and Chris Carr, who was the team's best cover corner in 2010, should be returning as well. If the Ravens can stay healthy, the secondary could become one of the strongest and deepest units on the team when it was thought tht it might be the weak link going into the 2011 season.
With the defense seemingly clicking on all gears, the mere thought of the squad actually getting stronger should be great news to Ravens fans, but not good news at all for the rest of the league. Lardarius Webb is now officially part of the solution and no longer part of the problem.