Teams are testing Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb more this season, and they're having success doing so.
Webb has been targeted 40 times through six games, an average of 6.7 times per contest -- his highest mark in three seasons, according to Pro Football Focus. He's allowed 62.5 percent of the passes at him to be completed, which is more than Jimmy Smith (53.7 percent), the team's other starting cornerback, has given up.
Last season, Webb was the Ravens' top cornerback. Now, a year removed from ACL surgery, Webb is going to have to prove he can still play at that level. Webb got beat for a 64-yard touchdown last Sunday, and he wants quarterbacks to keep throwing in his direction.
"I'm baiting them. I'm baiting them to come," Webb said, via Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. I guess they see a couple games where some guys are getting some catches, so continue to come. I'm ready to take the challenge."
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Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach is taking the Ravens' struggles in the ground game "personally" but he is confident that it will improve. "We’ve just got some struggles right now," Leach told Comcast SportsNet. "It’s a work in progress. But in order for us to go where we want to go, and get where we want to get, we’ve got to get it going.”
Sam Koch had only two of his 558 punts blocked from 2006 to 2012, according to The Baltimore Sun. He's now had two punts blocked in six games this season. "Obviously, it’s something that just cannot happen,” special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. “It’s too vital of a play in football for us to allow it to happen, and we’ll continue to address it. The reason we practice every camp practice with punt and every [organized team activity] practice with punt and every minicamp practice with punt is because it’s so important. And we need to fix it.” Reserve safety Anthony Levine took the blame for the blocked punt.
The Ravens have tried to remain unpredictable on first down this season, running the ball on 52.5 percent (93 of 177) of the time, according to the team's official website. “You’d like to try to be balanced so that you don’t have too many things in terms of tendencies that they can game plan against,” offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. “But that’s not the end-all, be-all in that situation because of the fact that most good teams have some sort of tendencies because they do some things extremely well and they don’t care if you know it or not.”
The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston thinks the Ravens need to ditch the zone-blocking scheme. "That finesse style doesn't fit the Ravens," Preston wrote. "The offensive line is a bunch of maulers. They want to attack and get on defensive players early instead of waiting and allowing them to penetrate. In layman's terms, the Ravens want to go back to being the hammer instead of the nail."