New week, new look at cornerback, safety spots

On an absolutely gorgeous day in Owings Mills, Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano shook things up a bit this afternoon, changing some of his starting personnel from the lineup that we saw last week.

Cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who is still slowly working back from ACL surgery, rotated in with Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams with the first-team defense today. Smith and Williams had gotten all of the first-team reps last week and in Friday’s preseason game against the Chiefs, but as Foxworth continues to progress health-wise (more on that to come), his reps with the first-stringers might increase.

“We’ve got great competition going on (at cornerback),” Pagano said. “We feel like they’re all doing what they’re supposed to do. We’ve got guys in position to make some plays out there, and we’ve got some guys making some. We’ve got some guys not finishing some plays that they’re right there. Jimmy was in great position early in that ballgame (against the Chiefs). It was good for him to get some live action like that.

“You can see Fox is getting his legs back underneath him. Got to get Chris (Carr) back out there. The great thing is we’ve got five guys that we trust, and there are some other young guys that are doing a great job, so we feel good about it.”

While the cornerback rotation had a new look today, the safety duo also got changed up from last week.

Tom Zbikowski got the bulk of the first-team reps at strong safety next to Ed Reed today, this after Bernard Pollard got all the action in that spot last week. Haruki Nakamura has consistently rotated in with the second-team defense, seeing time at both safety spots.

“We haven’t named anybody (the starter),” Pagano said. “I think it’s all going to shake itself out. (Pollard’s) done a good job; Zibby, Ruki have done a good job.”

I wrote a couple days ago that Pollard appears to have an edge over Zbikowski for the strong safety job after starting against the Chiefs on Friday.

We’ll see how Pagano handles the starting assignment at that position this Thursday against the Redskins. If Pollard gets the call yet again, it would be safe to say he has a clear advantage over Zbikowski. Pagano might truly consider this battle neck-and-neck, however, in which case he could opt to switch things up and give Zbikowski a chance to show what he can do with the first-team against Washington.

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