When the Ravens signed free agent cornerback Corey Graham away from the Chicago Bears in the off-season, their reason was based on his solid play as a Special Teams ace. However, the return on their investment has come in a relief role due to the number of injuries in their secondary, forcing him into service as a starting cornerback.
Never did they expect to have to utilize him in the manner he has been used, but could not be any happier with the results over the past two weeks. In Sunday's loss, the six year veteran had eleven tackles and one interception. Over the past five weeks that he has played significant time in place of the injured Jimmy Smith, all Graham has done is total 32 tackles, six defended passes and two interceptions.
He had one interception in each game against the Steelers and has been a pleasant surprise after not expecting to have to contribute in the secondary beyond occasional reps in nickel or dime-package situations. Graham has fit in perfectly, although there have been a few obvious communication issues that luckily have not hurt the team.
The losses to injuries of both Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith have paved the way for both Graham and Cary Williams to step up and play well during the Ravens four game winning streak prior to Sunday's loss. Although Webb is done for the season, Smith is expected to return sometime before the end of the regular season.
However, it will be an interesting problem to find time for Graham to get more playing time and it could turn out that he will still remain the starter. Based on his recent play, expect to see a lot more of Graham in the Ravens defensive backfield.