At the very end of his press conference yesterday, Domonique Foxworth was asked how he thinks the Ravens' secondary will fare this season now that he's out for the year with a torn ACL.
Foxworth, who clearly has heard a lot of negative talk about the Ravens' defensive backs throughout the offseason, got a little riled up. He rattled off statistics from last year, pointing out that the Ravens finished the season eighth in the league in passing defense, fifth in interceptions, and third in scoring defense (and all his research was correct, by the way).
"Last year we had a ton of injuries and a lot of tough situations going on," Foxworth said, "but we were still highly ranked and performed very well, especially toward the end of the season and playoff time, when it really mattered.
"I promise you that if there are any shortcomings on this team, it won't be in the secondary," he added. "You can guarantee that."
Foxworth has confidence. Do you?
Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb are still recovering from ACL tears of their own, and while the team hopes that both will be back to start the season (they're more confident Washington will be ready; Webb is more of a toss-up), you never know.
That leaves the Ravens with seven healthy corners currently on the roster. Here they are, with a quick piece of info on each guy:
Chris Carr: Played in all of the Ravens' 18 games last year, starting three (including both postseason contests). The five-year veteran has experience, and while he was signed to be the Ravens' nickel back, he can slide in and start at corner. He's the favorite to get one of the starting spots unless both Washington and Webb are able to return for Week 1.
Travis Fisher: The eight-year vet got time opposite Carr with the first-team yesterday. Fisher has bounced around a bit in his career, playing for the Rams, Lions and Seahawks, but has lots of experience, starting 74 games. He isn't lacking confidence; here's his response to my question yesterday afternoon about whether he sees this as an opportunity for himself:
"I don't want to say it's set up perfect, but I will say it's a great opportunity for me," he said. "I've been on a couple teams that didn't fit for me. This team really fits for me. I'm doing a great job, and I look forward to coming out here every day and learning. I've got the skill, I've got the speed, I've got the playmaking ability to come out here and make plays. I've just got to get in the classroom. I've got to come out here and compete."
Walt Harris: Harris is also a bit of a journeyman, playing for five teams in his now 15-year NFL career. Coming off a knee injury that kept him out for all of 2009, the 35-year-old is a bit of a question mark, but he impressed the Ravens during an offseason tryout. Harris has yet to practice 100 percent because of some soreness in his Achilles, but when healthy, he can still be a threat (as evidenced by his 15 interceptions from 2006-2008).
Cary Williams: Williams didn't help his stock when he was suspended for the first two games of the regular season for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, but the coaches seem to like the physical style he plays with. At 6-1, he presents good size and playmaking ability. Williams has appeared in 10 NFL games in three seasons, including five with the Ravens last year.
K.J. Gerard: The undrafted rookie out of Northern Arizona spent the 2009 season back and forth between the Ravens' practice squad and their active roster. He saw action in three games, although almost all of it came on special teams. Gerard also stands at 6-1, and moves well for a bigger corner, but he lacks NFL experience at the position.
Marcus Paschal: Paschal appeared in three games with the Eagles in 2007 and has bounced around since then, seeing time with the Falcons and Colts before signing with the Ravens in November of last year. He saw time on both the practice squad and active roster, and was active for two games. Paschal has good speed for his 6-0, 201 pound frame.
Prince Miller: An undrafted rookie out of Georgia, Miller checks in at just 5-8. His size prevents him from making big plays (he posted just one interception in college), but he has very good speed, which allows him to take chances and recover quickly when necessary.