Ravens reloading depth in secondary

Play of Carr, J.Smith, Zbikowski bolsters defensive backfield

November 02, 2011|By Edward Lee

Just in time for a rematch with arguably one of the most explosive wide-receiving corps in the NFL, the Ravens are getting healthier – and more effective – in the secondary.

Cornerbacks Chris Carr and Jimmy Smith and strong safety Tom Zbikowski saw a decent amount of time in Sunday’s 30-27 win against the Arizona Cardinals, and their presence bolsters a defensive backfield that has relied heavily on starting cornerbacks Cary Williams and Lardarius Webb and starting safeties Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard.

“It builds our depth, which is going to be big,” coach John Harbaugh said of the return of Carr (left hamstring) and Zbikowski (post-concussion symptoms) from their assorted injuries. “We have had games where we have had seven [defensive backs] active in the last few weeks. I thought they both played well. They are only going to play better as they get healthier. They both played well.”

Carr finished with three tackles and one sack Sunday as the fifth defensive back in the team’s nickel packages. Zbikowski made one tackle, and Smith, the organization’s first-round pick in April, broke up one pass in the defense’s dime packages.

Harbaugh said Smith fared well in his first real involvement in the defense this season.

“Well, to just get in the game and play was big for him,” Harbaugh said. “He didn’t have a chance to play as much the week before against Jacksonville. He played very little in the preseason with his injuries that he had. So he’s a guy that we’re going to be counting on going forward. He’s going to have an expanded role, I would think, hopefully every week as we go forward. He was in the dime package a little bit last week and did a good job. We’ll just have to see how it goes from there.”

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