— Lardarius Webb (@LWebb21) July 15, 2013
As he sat on the sidelines during the game, after tearing his right ACL in Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys, his thoughts surely turned reflective not being part of it all.
“I felt like a champion…but I want to play in the game (Super Bowl) and win it.” Webb said looking back.
In 2011, his breakout season, Webb was considered one of the league’s best corners, not allowing a touchdown to be thrown his way the whole season. Webb recorded 5 interceptions and 20 pass deflections along with 30 punt returns for 301 yards and 1 TD.
Then, in 2012, Webb was looking at a fairly similar season, with 6 pass deflections and an interception before his season was derailed in Week 6. This isn’t the first time Webb has had to deal with an ACL injury, either. In 2009, Webb’s rookie season; he tore his left ACL during Week 15.
How much was the Ravens defense affected by the loss of Webb? With Webb, the Ravens’ defense recorded 48 sacks, 119 pass deflections, and 22 forced fumbles. Without Webb, the Ravens’ defense managed 37 sacks, 91 pass deflections, and only 10 forced fumbles.
While known for play in the pass game, Webb is regarded as one of the best run defending corners, being 4th on the Ravens in tackles with 59 in 2011 and recording 24 tackles in only 6 weeks in 2012.
Reed, who left for the Houston Texans during the offseason, played a huge role in the development of Webb, acting as a mentor and a friend. “We paid attention while he was here. We’re going to continue doing what he taught us. He took all of us up under his wing. He was my favorite player.”
With the acquisition of Elvis Dumervil, Michael Huff, Chris Canty, and Darrelle Revis moving to the NFC, I’m expecting a Pro Bowl year out of Lardarius Webb. Webb had fully recovered for an ACL injury before and became one of the league’s best corners, so I expect a full recovery and a return to form.
With a return to form, the Ravens’ defense can mirrow the one that was the 3rd best in the NFL in, 2011, 4th against the pass, 2nd against the run.
If Webb can’t come back, if he can’t be one of the best corners in the league, the Ravens’ defense will struggle, a group of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graham, Chykie Brown, and Chris Johnson cannot hold up and the Ravens’ defense will fall back to a middle of the pack defense they were against the pass, 17th overall.
Webb himself may have said it best, telling the Baltimore Ravens website, “I think if I can stay healthy throughout the season, I’ll be a Pro Bowl corner. We want to start something new…a dynasty…”
Guest post by Cody Colston. Follow Cody on Twitter @The_OtherCody