With the hapless Indianapolis Colts in town last week, the number one fear was that the Ravens would suffer another letdown against a poor opponent.
They vanquished Dan Orlovsky and company 24-10, so no issues there.
Next on the fan fear list was that an important player would suffer an injury. As of this morning, it looked like the Ravens had escaped the contest unscathed in that department as well.
Unfortunately, Vinny Cerrato of 105.7 the fan broke the news this morning that the team had indeed suffered a potentially devastating injury.
Lardarius Webb is reported to have suffered a hyperextended big toe, or “turf toe” as it has become infamously known.
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb suffered a turf toe injury toward the end of a win Sunday over the Indianapolis Colts.
Under a best-case scenario, Webb is expected to miss one to a few games.The worst-case scenario is Webb would be out until the playoffs.
Ugh. The only way this injury could have come at a worse time is if it had happened in Week 17, immediately preceding the postseason.
Webb has been far and away the team’s top cornerback in 2011, and leads the team in interceptions with four. He is also the primary punt returner, and after a slow start to the season had been really picking it up in that department as well, taking one back for a touchdown in Week 14 against Cleveland.
Entering this month, there were 15 cornerbacks in the NFL who had been targeted at least 70 times, and Webb was the only one to not allow a single touchdown. He didn’t allow any over the last two games either, so that streak is still alive.
When Webb wasn’t on the field for the Colts’ final series Sunday, it was assumed that he was simply taken out of the game because the score was so lopsided. Instead, it looks like his tackle of Austin Collie on the previous series is where the injury occurred.
If the reports are true, Webb would be the third Raven this season to miss time due to turf toe. Left guard Ben Grubbs missed six games earlier in the year, and Ray Lewis has missed the last four – though he hopes to return in Week 15 against San Diego – with the exact same ailment.
With San Diego next on the schedule, this is a terrible time for this injury to pop up. The Chargers are loaded at the wide receiver position, and the Ravens could have used all hands on deck in the secondary. Without Webb, we have to hope Chris Carr is able to come back from a back injury that has been bothering him of late. While Webb-for-Carr isn’t a 1-to-1 trade by any stretch, the veteran Carr is at least familiar enough with the Ravens’ system that the drop off should be less than if say, Danny Gorrer has to see extended playing time (though Gorrer, for his part, has been a pleasant surprise on the back end).
I would expect Tom Zbikowski to take over on punt returns. While he isn’t nearly as explosive as Webbie, I’d think the coaching staff trusts him more back there than a guy like LaQuan Williams in important games like the ones remaining on the schedule.
Rookie Jimmy Smith will be a guy that certainly sees more of the field with Webb out, and he will have his hands full against the Chargers’ talented WR corps.
Not to get all Football Outsiders on you, but if I were to try to quantify Webb’s absense, I’d have to guess it’s probably worth at least 4-6 points per game. That’s another touchdown or so that the Ravens’ offense is going to have to expect to have to make up for moving forward without Webb. The final AFC playoff seeding is far from set in stone, and the Ravens can’t afford to let this injury derail them down the stretch.
Hopefully Webb doesn’t miss more than a game or two. All teams are dealing with injuries this time of year, and there is no room for excuses as the season’s final weeks tick away. Let’s get Webbie rested up, and in the meantime it has to be “next man up” in the secondary.