Cut lessthan two weeks before the season by the New England Patriots, James Ihedigbo found a home with the Ravens and already has had a chance to make an impact.
Ihedigbo, a sixth-year safety, was with the Patriots when they beat the Ravensin the AFC championship game last season.Hestepped in for Bernard Pollard, who injured his ribs in the first quarter and never returned, in a 24-23 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Ihedigbo played next to veteran safety Ed Reed for three quarters instead.
Thedefense forced four turnovers and was constantly under duress as the offense failed to score a touchdown in the second half. The Eagles erased a 17-7 deficit as Michael Vick threw for 371 yards.
Its afun defense to be in. A lot is put on the safeties in terms of communicating tothe linebackers and corners. Thats a strength for me, said Ihedigbo, who would be the starter if Pollard isn't able to suit up. It wasawesome having Ed there and having veteran players whove been there and knowthe system.So howimportant is it to have Ihedigbo in the locker room? He played in all 16 gamesand started 12 of them in an injury-riddle secondary for the Patriots as theyfinished 13-3. He sackedRavens quarterback Joe Flacco in the AFC title game on a key play in the thirdquarter and led his old team with eight tackles. Ihedigbo doesn't think it matters because Patriots coach Bill Belichick will game plan according to what he seems on film. He doesn't feel extra motivation playing against his old team, either.
The game will be televised nationally on NBC's Sunday Night Football.
"There's really nothing," Ihedigbo said of talking to coach John Harbaugh about the Patriots' schemes. "I'm not in that locker room now to be able to help. All we can do is study the tape that we have and study the game plan we have."