In an 11-on-11 drill at Ravens training camp on Saturday, Joe Flacco threw a deep pass down the middle, and cornerback Lardarius Webb made a nice, leaping interception.
The Ravens are counting on Webb and the other defensive backs to make that kind of play more often this season. It didn't happen nearly enough last year.
How bad was it? Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata tied for the team lead in interceptions with two, and no defensive back had more than one. The Ravens finished with 11 interceptions, tied for the fewest in franchise history, and five of those came from Ngata, linebacker C.J. Mosley (2) and Daryl Smith (1).
"Obviously, we have to get picks. That’s huge," cornerback Jimmy Smith said on Friday.
Smith had one interception last season in eight games before missing the second half of the season with a foot injury. But as Smith emerged as the Ravens top corner, teams actively looked to stay away from him, driving his interception chances down.
Others did not pick up the slack.
Through the first nine games last year, Smith was the only defensive back with an interception. Webb, who missed three of the first four games last year, did not have an interception until Week 16.
If healthy, those two figure to start at cornerback, but the Ravens have added two veteran defensive backs -- safety Kendrick Lewis and cornerback Kyle Arrington -- with some ball skills. Each has nine career interceptions, and Arrington tied for the NFL lead with seven in 2011.
True, the Ravens don't have a ball-hawk extraordinaire like Ed Reed anymore, but the Ravens have a potentially outstanding pass rush once again after recording 49 sacks last year, tied for second-most in the league. When they pressure the opposing quarterback into a mistake, the secondary must make him pay.
"We need to create turnovers," coach John Harbaugh said after Friday's workout. "We need to be a defense across the board that people fear in the sense that you want to throw the ball out there, there’s a good chance it’s going to come back the other way. You have to have that from your back end."