Ravens secondary ready for Peyton Manning?

Ravens secondary ready for Peyton Manning?
August 25, 2013, 7:00 am
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Marlon Brown impressing at WR

(Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

EARLY BIRD: Waking up with the Ravens, Sunday, Aug. 25, as they prepare for Thursday’s preseason finale against the Rams. 

Two-minute topic: Is the Ravens secondary ready to deal with Peyton Manning in Week 1?

Manning is among the best ever at finding a secondary’s weakness and exploiting it. 

For the Ravens, cornerback Lardarius Webb is returning not a moment too soon. Recovering from major knee surgery, Webb saw his first action of the preseason and looked solid Thursday night against the Panthers. His best play came in the second quarter, when he closed quickly and deflected a Cam Newton pass intended for Ted Ginn. It showed Webb’s ability to change directions quickly without hesitation. Still, he wasn’t satisfied.

“I should have picked it, first of all,” Webb said, smiling. “But yeah, getting my hands back on the ball, getting back used to it getting that confidence back up like I want it – it felt good.”

When the Broncos go to three-wide sets featuring Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, and Eric Decker, the Ravens can counter with three corners – Webb, Corey Graham, and Jimmy Smith. After struggling against the Falcons last week, Smith had a solid performance Thursday night, prompting this comment from coach John Harbuagh after the game.

“No Jimmy Smith questions?” Harbaugh asked.

At that point, a Jimmy Smith question was asked.

“Jimmy Smith played very well,” Harbaugh said. “He was physical at the line. They’ve got excellent receivers over there, and I think he did a nice job. Thanks for asking.”

Regardless of who starts, the Ravens should have a secondary rotation of at least six deep in Denver, wih Michael Huff, James Ihedigbo, and Matt Elam all seeing time at safety. We will find out pretty soon how well the Ravens’ new-look secondary is meshing. Because wherever there is a weakness, Manning is likely to find it.

Morning thought: “The more and more we play together in game situations, the better we’ll be at communicating.”

Huff, talking about the Ravens’ new faces on defense.

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