As we countdown to training camp, Clifton Brown and Bo Smolka will take turns putting 25 key Ravens under the microscope this month.
They’ll speculate on a best-case, worst-case scenario for at least one player every day. They’ll begin with players looking to carve out a role, or a roster spot. They’ll end with the Ravens’ most important players, concluding with quarterback Joe Flacco on July 25.
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE – Lardarius Webb, 30-year-old safety
Best-case scenario: Webb brings stability as a starting safety next to Eric Weddle.
Why it could happen: Nobody in the Ravens’ secondary has more experience in their system than Webb, who is making the transition from corner to safety. Webb is an excellent tackler who is rarely fooled. Younger players respect his leadership and respond to his advice. Many NFL corners have made a successful transition to safety later in their careers, and Webb has the skill set to pull it off.
Worst-case scenario: Webb isn’t as confident as a safety, and the position switch experiment fades.
Why it could happen: Webb hasn’t played safety regularly since college, so it won’t be as easy as flipping a switch. It remains to be seen if Webb has the range to cover the ground it takes to play safety well. The Ravens want to create more turnovers as a secondary, but moving Webb to safety may not help them accomplish that goal. Playing next to a veteran like Weddle should help Webb, but there will be plays where he must sink or swim on his own. Kendrick Lewis started most of last season at safety, so if Webb struggles, Lewis is a threat to reclaim his starting job.