OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The biggest concern on defense heading into training camp was cornerback, and that hasn't lessened with the early play of Chykie Brown.
One of the lasting images of the first three days of camp has been Brown getting beat on deep passes. It happened twice Saturday, when Jacoby Jones and Steve Smith both caught throws downfield against Brown.
On the first big play allowed, Brown got burned by Jones, who outran him for a 65-yard touchdown. On the second one, Brown ran with Smith but couldn't finish the play.
"He's coming along," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "He's fighting for a job at corner. They have their good days and their bad days. One of the things that we have to take care of is we can't give up big plays."
Cornerback is the weakest area on the defense beyond starters Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb. The top backups are Brown, Asa Jackson, Dominque Franks (who has yet to pass the conditioning test) and undrafted rookies Deji Olatoye and Tramain Jacobs.
With Webb nursing a minor back injury, Brown has been running with the first-team defense. Brown only played 3 percent of the defensive snaps last season.
"Chykie has [grown] leaps and bounds," secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "We really need to detail some of the things he’s doing. But he was blessed with long arms and great ability. We’re looking for him to just keep progressing, and he’ll be fine."
What's it going to take for Brown to put all of his tools together?
"It’s kind of that point of confrontation when the ball is arriving that we really need to work at, and he knows that," Spagnuolo said. "He needs to be able to turn and find the football and make a play when the situation calls for him to do that. He has all the ability in the world, and he works his butt off, and anytime you can work with a guy like that, we’ll get somewhere.”
The Ravens had the luxury of having veteran Corey Graham as the third corner last season. He signed a four-year, $20 million contract with the Buffalo Bills in free agency, a contract the Ravens couldn't match.
It wouldn't be surprising if the Ravens signed a cornerback when the final major cutdown occurs at the end of the preseason. For now, the Ravens are hoping Brown rebounds from a rough start to camp.
"I think what people don’t know about Chykie is Chykie really understands football – like he understands," Jimmy Smith said. "He’ll be in the meeting and he’ll tell you, ‘Hey, this is about to come, this is about to come, this is about to come.’ All he has to do now, when he’s out there, is calm down, focus and get right with that.”