With the back and forth status of Lardarius Webb for this weeks game against the San Diego Chargers, no one really knows what will happen come Sunday. Webb was in a walking boot today at the the Ravens facility but assured fans he would be ready to play this weekend. Head coach John Harbaugh stated in his Monday press conference that "All players that played against the Colts last weekend will be ready to play this weekend in San Diego."(including Webb) That is much better news than the one to three week absence most fans were expecting.
Never the less, Baltimore does have a capable back up waiting and ready. First round draft pick Jimmy Smith is preparing for the game as if he is going to start. Technically Smith has started the past two games as Cleveland and Indianapolis started the game with three wide and Smith was in as the nickle. "If my number is called I'll have to be ready" said Smith in an interview with Baltimoreravens.com blogger Ryan Mink. Smith then reiterated "So, I'm confident I'll be ready.
Jimmy Smith has tremendous size and strength for a corner. Standing at 6'2" and weighing in at 210 pounds, Jimmy can be an imposing figure for wide-outs trying to get off the line for a quick pass. This week his size and strength will be at a premium as San Diego boasts the tallest receiving corps in the league. Vincent Jackson 6'5" 230 lbs. and Malcom Floyd 6'5" 225 lbs. are San Diegos' two top receivers. Add in a 6'4" 260 pound Antonio Gates and it spells disaster for defensive coordinators around the league. Although Jimmy has played sparingly, he has shown why he was the Ravens first round pick. Smith has logged two interceptions with respectable returns and most completions to his assignment are highly contested. He has had his rookie moments but his over all play has been outstanding.
Maybe starting Smith on the outside and Danny Gorrer as the nickle would not be a bad idea this week after all. Webb has been the Ravens best corner by far this season but you can not help but wonder if these type of receivers would be a better match up for Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams. Webb stands 5'10" and 185 lbs and although he plays much bigger than that, it would be asking a lot for him to cover one of two six foot five guys all game with an injured toe. Not only is Webb Baltimores' best corner, he is also their most explosive return man. If Lardarius was to aggravate his injury and be lost for the season the Ravens would have a huge hole on special teams as well.
Come game-time I'm sure John Harbaugh will do what is best for Lardarius and the Ravens. Harbaugh has never been one to give away a players injury status until he absolutely has to. It is a very comforting feeling to be this deep in the secondary though. If Lardarius is unable to go it will be nice to see the kid get his first real shot at responsibility. Most Ravens fans can remember the past few seasons this team had a major issue at the corner back position. An issue that was highlighted in a game against San Diego where Phillip Rivers and his over-sized receivers had their way with Baltimores' secondary. Let's hope that Chuck Pagano and this years Ravens squad has some answers or the offense will have to step up this week.