‘He’s a hidden gem’: Maurice Canady’s rise to aid an injured Ravens secondary

Andrew Gillis

Maurice Canady knows teams have been picking on him this season. He's also thriving in that environment.

Time and time again against the Steelers on Sunday, the ball was thrown in Canady's direction. And he rarely had a lapse in coverage. 

With injuries to Tavon Young and Jimmy Smith in the secondary, Canady's play the last three weeks has been much needed for a depleted Ravens secondary.

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"Maurice really stepped up," coach John Harbaugh said of Canady's performance in Pittsburgh. "He played well. He covered man, covered zone, made plays on the ball, made tackles. I thought he played very well. It's nice to see a guy step up when the opportunity comes, and he did it."

Canady had seven total tackles and had one forced fumble against the Steelers. He played in 53 defensive snaps (91 percent), the fourth most on the defense. 

A week prior, he played 25 snaps (37 percent) against Cleveland. He had an interception in that game, too, the first of his NFL career. 

He's playing more and more each week, and his confidence is a big reason why. The fact that teams are continually testing him doesn't phase him one bit.

"I'm a firm believer that if you don't believe in yourself, nobody else is going to believe in you," Canady said. "So it doesn't really matter what somebody else thinks about me. If I'm out there and I'm timid, or if I'm out there and I don't believe I can check the guy, it don't matter who I'm trying to show off for."

Opposite Marlon Humphrey, it's expected that opposing teams have been testing Canady instead of the proven Pro Bowl talent. But Canady's performance has come when the team needed it most. 

Young went out with a neck injury in the preseason and was lost for the year and Smith has been out since week one with an MCL sprain. In search of answers, Canady has been the current solution. 

"Thank God he's here," defensive coordinator Don Martindale began. "...and obviously, ‘Mo' did a lot of good things in the last two games, really. So, we have to just keep working."

Canady began the season on the practice squad after being waived by the team ahead of the original 53-man cutdown and was added to the team on Sept. 14 ahead of the team's game against the Cardinals. 

Since then, Canady has been a crucial part of the Ravens defense. 

"He's a hidden gem, I'm very very glad we have him on our team," Earl Thomas said. "He's been lockin' up."

Moving forward, Canady will be relied upon more and more to play more snaps in a secondary that struggled for the first quarter of the season. 

And so far, he's shown just why he's got so much confidence in himself.

"He has so much confidence, that's what going to keep separating him and keep making this league notice his talent," Thomas said. "He has confidence, he knows he can play, he knows the scheme, he's a great off-corner."

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Hes a hidden gem: Maurice Canadys rise to aid an injured Ravens secondary originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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