James Ihedigbo wins starting job, Matt Elam to get plenty of playing time

James Ihedigbo beat out Matt Elam for the starting strong safety job, at least for the time being. - USA TODAY Sports

Even though James Ihedigbo will begin the 2013 season starting at strong safety, coach John Harbaugh said rookie Matt Elam will receive plenty of time on the football field.

James Ihedigbo wasn't going to let a rookie walk in and take his job.

Throughout the preseason, Ihedigbo battled rookie safety Matt Elam, the organization's first-round draft choice, for the starting strong safety job. Both competed for the position after the Ravens decided to cut Bernard Pollard earlier this offseason.

Though Elam was an early favorite to win the spot, Ihedigbo edged him for the job.

"James has been running with the ‘number ones,' and he'll continue to do that," coach John Harbaugh told reporters Friday. "Matt [rotates] in and plays a lot. He'll continue to do that whether it's in the regular package or the other packages that we have. Both of those guys are going to play a lot of football."

Last year, Ihedigbo saw most of his playing time in substitution packages as a hybrid safety/linebacker that blitzed the quarterback. That role probably won't change as the Ravens may use three safeties in certain sub packages, getting Elam, Ihedigbo and Michael Huff on the field at the same time.

Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt

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