Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb basically threw down the gauntlet in April when he proclaimed, We have the best secondary in football.
When asked about it a few days later, Webb wasnt backing off an inch.
I stand strong to what I said, Webb said. With Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard on the back end, it makes us even stronger. And with Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams actually being in their first year, last year, and the way they came out and changed our secondary completely, I say, 'Why not?'
Now Webb and Co. are already hard at work to back up that claim.
BaltimoreRavens.coms Ryan Mink reports that Webb, Pollard, Smith and free agent acquisition Corey Graham have been, in Webbs words, grinding together at the Ravens practice facility well before training camp even starts.
You really cant just speak something and not be ready to back it up, Webb said. Were here grinding together, putting in work together, being together. We all want to be great.
Mink points out that the players even brought in their own trainer, since during this pre-training camp time coaches are not permitted to work with the players.
Mercurial Ed Reed, though not working out with the group, was seen doing drills at the Ravens Under Armour Performance Center last week, the surest sign yet that the All-Pro safety will, in fact, play this season.
Depending on the measuring stick, the Ravens dont have far to go to be the leagues No. 1 secondary. Last season, the Ravens ranked fourth in the league in passing yards allowed in 2011 (196.2) after being 21st the year before.
The Ravens recorded 15 interceptions last year, which ranked in the middle of the NFL pack, but they allowed just 11 passing touchdowns, the lowest total in the league and half as many as they allowed in 2010.
Its really hard to believe were not the best, Webb told the Ravens Web site. I see their skills every day. With Bernard and Ed Reed in the back, show me another group who is better.