Despite appearing to run and cut well on the injured toe on his left foot, cornerback Lardarius Webb was replaced by rookie Jimmy Smith as a starter in the Ravens’ eventual 34-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, that did not bother Webb, who had been the defense’s season-opening starter with Cary Williams.
“I think we were just being cautious about it,” said Webb, who leads the team in interceptions with four. “Next week, we’re going to see how it works again. So we’ll see.”
Smith made five tackles and one pass breakup, but also surrendered a 28-yard touchdown catch to Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd and was targeted often by quarterback Philip Rivers.
Webb said he had no qualms about Smith getting his first career start in a two-cornerback set.
“I was very confident in Jimmy Smith,” Webb said. “I just knew that he could do that job. Me, I’m a competitor. You know I’m always going to want to start, but I didn’t want to go out there and hurt the team. I realize I want to help the team, not hurt them. But we’re going to see next week.”
Coach John Harbaugh said the decision to go with Smith over Webb came down to the latter being unable to practice last week.
“He hadn’t practiced all week,” Harbaugh reasoned. “That was the main thing. He held up fine physically. I think it’s something that you don’t really want to push if we didn’t have to. We felt like our young guys were going to do a good job out there. But the main thing was just handling all the different route combinations and the coverage. We felt like those guys that practiced all week gave us the best opportunity, combined with the injury, was the direction that we wanted to go.”
Webb played sporadically, at one point replacing Williams in the second quarter. (Williams declined to discuss the temporary benching, saying, “Next question.) But Webb said the toe felt good and – perhaps more importantly – did not suffer a setback.
Webb said he wasn’t sure whether the injury would impact his return to starting against the Cleveland Browns on Saturday.
“I hope it doesn’t affect me at all,” he said. “We’ll keep working there just like we did tonight, working me back in. and hopefully, I’ll be back in full time soon.”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times