Commentary

Expect Ravens to call all corners

Baltimore's injury-riddled secondary might be team's only weak link

Originally Published: August 9, 2010
By Adam Schefter | ESPN.com

WESTMINSTER, Md. -- Last week, the Baltimore Ravens traded quarterback John Beck to the Washington Redskins for cornerback Doug Dutch. That trade just might turn out to be the warm-up act for the main performance.

Before this season kicks off, Baltimore will do everything it can to make another trade for another, more established cornerback.

Calls already have come in and gone out. There will be more, too. And they will not stop until they add another cornerback to what is a Super Bowl-caliber roster but with substandard cornerbacks.

As it is, the Ravens are counting heavily on cornerbacks Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb, each of whom is coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The Ravens acquired Dutch in the wake of the loss of No. 1 cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who was placed on the injured reserve list with a right knee injury. The Ravens' third cornerback, Chris Carr, has battled a tight hamstring and sore back throughout camp. Another trade is needed -- required, even.

Baltimore is deep at linebacker, defensive line, wide receiver and running back. Any cornerback-rich team that loses a player at any of those positions this summer could find itself on the phone with the Ravens, discussing a deal that would help both teams.

But the Ravens already have made one trade for a cornerback. Do not be surprised to see another.

Other observations from Ravens training camp:

• Questions surround the condition and status of Baltimore's top pick in April, former Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle. But the Ravens now are planning to place Kindle on the physically unable to perform list before the season begins, which automatically sidelines the rookie for at least the first six games this season. Kindle will miss the entire preseason after suffering a fall at a friend's home in Austin, Texas, that left him with a fractured skull and swelling on his brain. Kindle is talking and has been in contact with the Ravens organization. But Baltimore knows it can't count on Kindle for the first half of this season, if it all.

• It's never too early to start looking ahead to the Week 1 ESPN "Monday Night Football" game between the Ravens and the host New York Jets. And it's never too early to insert the ESPN training-camp tour bus into the matchup. Last week, head coach Rex Ryan signed the Jets' team logo sticker with his name and the message, "Soon to be champs." When Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco approached the back of the bus Monday to sign the Ravens' team logo sticker, he looked at Ryan's message and joked, "I should add a question mark at the end of it." Ultimately, Flacco declined to add the question mark or any inflammatory words of his own. He simply signed his name.

• No one in the Ravens organization knows when Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed will be recovered from his hip injury and able to resume playing. Reed suggested that he would start the season on the physically unable to perform list, but nobody in Baltimore has made any decisions. It's possible he'll miss the first part of the season but also possible he'll be ready for the Monday night opener against the Jets. Like some elections, it's still too early to call.

• Baltimore has produced linebackers the way Penn State has. Now there is another that is making his mark this summer: Third-year player Jameel McClain has forced his way into Baltimore's starting lineup at inside linebacker, lining up next to Ray Lewis. McClain has a pedigree similar to Bart Scott's. Both were undrafted free agents; both transitioned from defensive end to linebacker; both took time to develop in Baltimore; and just as current Jets star Scott made his mark, many believe that McClain now will do the same. If so, it gives the Ravens one more inside linebacker to go with the deep and talented group they already have.

• Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson is a major force in Baltimore's defense and one of the most underrated players in the league.

• The Ravens were unable to draft a cornerback last April, but they came away with two tight ends who appear to be weapons for seasons to come. Third-round pick Ed Dickson and fourth-round pick Dennis Pitta have been the standouts that Baltimore hoped they would be. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Dickson has shined even more. His combination of size and speed is going to be difficult for linebackers and safeties to defend; it has been for the Ravens' defense this summer.

• Still hard to imagine how, in 2008, the Ravens were able to build the foundation of their team with back-to-back picks in the first and second rounds. In the first round, the Ravens drafted quarterback Joe Flacco, and in the second they picked running back Ray Rice. And there is the reason the Ravens are one of the AFC's elite teams.

• Former Arizona Cardinals star Anquan Boldin has been everything the Ravens thought he would be, the best receiver Baltimore has had in years. But do not discount former Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth nor old reliable Derrick Mason. Stallworth and Mason are going to make valuable contributions for this Ravens' offense.

• Congratulations to Ravens senior vice president Kevin Byrne, who became a grandfather for the first time July 12. Wyatt Michael Byrne now has a serious Ravens hookup, not to mention a stellar role model from which to learn.

Next stops: Washington Redskins on Monday afternoon and the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday morning.

Adam Schefter is an ESPN NFL Insider.