Nearly a year ago, inside linebacker
And the Ravens dealt with that crisis by winning every game without the former
The situation is compounded by the loss of $50 million cornerback
"We did it last year, we won every game when Ray was hurt, so we have confidence," inside linebacker
"He knows what's going on. He put us in place to make plays. At the same time, we'll be able to carry on what he started and go out there and play good football."
Plummeting to 26th in the NFL in total defense after finishing third last season, the Ravens will have to shuffle their lineup to account for the loss of two starters.
"I feel great about our guys' chances to fill in," Ravens coach
"So, that's something that we are going to need to do from a leadership standpoint and from a playing standpoint. Our chances of doing it? I don't put odds on it. That's just something that we are going to have to get done."
Lewis' vacated middle linebacker position is expected to be filled partly through a committee approach. Weakside inside linebacker
The Ravens also have the option of plugging in outside linebacker
"The guys who are going to be playing are the same guys that stepped in and played last year, to a large extent," Harbaugh said. "Those guys have played a lot of football. We have a lot of confidence in those guys."
McClain, Ellerbe and McClellan are all former undrafted free agents.
A former starter as a rookie in 2009 who was beaten out the following year by McClain, Ellerbe has emerged as an important reserve this season with 28 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
"I just want to show them that I belong," Ellerbe said. "For being an undrafted guy, I want to show that hard work and determination goes a long way."
While Lewis is the Ravens' emotional leader and leads the team with 57 tackles, not having Webb is arguably a more serious problem to deal with.
At age 37, Lewis had drawn criticism for his declining range and ability to shed blocker whereas Webb is in his prime.
Webb is regarded as a shutdown cornerback capable of bottling up the most dangerous receivers.
The former third-round draft pick had eight interceptions last season, including the playoffs. This season, Webb has 25 tackles, one interception, six pass deflections, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
"It's huge to lose him," special-teams ace
Webb is also arguably one of the top tacklers on a struggling defense. The Ravens allowed a franchise-record 227 rushing yards to the Cowboys, and a total of 441 rushing yards over the past two games.
And those breakdowns transpired with Lewis and Webb on the field.
"It's difficult, but we can't allow that to stop us," said starting cornerback
The Ravens will plug in former first-round cornerback
Although Smith didn't finish the game Sunday due to a minor strained groin, he had seven tackles and one pass deflection.
"I'm ready," Smith said. "I've been waiting my turn and I've just got to go out there and keep making plays. No shot toward Lardarius, obviously he makes us that much better, but I think we have enough guys to step up and fill his role."
It will be a group effort in the secondary.
The Ravens will rely upon several cornerbacks, including
"It's going to hurt the team a lot, but that's a chance for somebody else to step up," Brown said. "Webb is a great player who means a lot to our defense. We're going to miss him. In my heart, I knew I was ready."
Although Lewis and Webb will eventually be placed on injured reserve, the Ravens haven't made any roster moves yet. It's unclear how the Ravens will proceed.
"You always need more corners," Harbaugh said. "You always need more of everything. We will probably lean toward the best player available."