It may only be a preseason game, but tonight versus the Kansas City Chiefs is going to be a good test for a Ravens defense continuing its tradition of being stout on the run.
And despite seeing him in limited action tonight at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens know they will face backs this year like KC running back Jamaal Charles, who finished 2nd in the AFC last year with 1,467 yards rushing.
Throughout the 2011 season, it’s going to be on guys like DL Cory Redding, who joined Glenn Clark this week on his afternoon live after practice, to bottle up the run.
And with one game in the books-despite giving up only 13 points in the Ravens preseason loss-Redding and the Ravens defense wants to improve game-by-game even if they don’t matter.
“The biggest thing that we take from the first game is that we don’t want to give up seven,” Redding said. “We were kind of disappointed with how few mistakes we made [that] we allowed them to get in the end zone.”
Now, with another game under their belt, every member of the Ravens defense-from younster to a veteran like Redding-are hoping to improve and get themselves ready for the Week1 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“This is preseason, and we can’t take too much out of it,” Redding said, “but in the terms of hustling and working hard, those things are going to come. Just be where you’re supposed to be when you are supposed to be there, and everything will work out.”
As a veteran, Redding hopes they work things out sooner rather than later, so that the Ravens defense has that good feeling sitting on the sidelines.
But at the same time, Redding knows that even when his time on the field is over, it’s a teaching and learning experience for him till the final seconds wind down on the clock.
“Guys are fighting for jobs,” Redding said. “They will make mistakes and they are learning. We don’t have a long off-season for these guys to learn our plays with our complex defense…so they could be going to the wrong gap, so our defense can get weak at times.”
Redding has seen three second-year guys in particular that haven’t been doing that-Arthur Jones, Terrence Cody, and Sergio Kindle-and that aspect of the Baltimore youth movement on defense is a sight to see.
“Art is doing good,” Redding said. “Arthur is a lot better understanding where and why we want him in certain places. He is understanding the system a lot more and he is letting the game come to him unlike the rest panicking when tough situations occur on the field.”
With Cody, Redding said that the defensive tackle may be the quickest learner in this shortened off-season so far. In other words, if there is a most-improved player, Redding threw his hat in Cody’s corner.
“Terrence came in shape and of course with the heat and all, everyone had tough days but he fought through it and he’s out there making tremendous plays for us.”
In essence, Cody looks like he could be a valuable asset to this defense given his inability to get on the field last year due to injury or conditioning.
“He’s holding the gap and he’s chasing balls down,” Redding said from a glance. “He looks like he’s lost two people. He looks really good, and he’s a big man who’s moving well for his size.”
“We are looking for good things out of him and he’s having a really good time right now.”
And finally, Redding said that when he’s lined up in practice and when the whistle blows in practice, there has always been one guy around the ball on every play-the linebacker hailing from the same school as Redding in the University of Texas-Sergio Kindle.
“It’s good to see my younger star,” Redding laughed. “He’s out there playing like a little kid. He’s excited to be out there playing again being out for a year…it is pretty awesome.”
Overall, it’s on all these guys developing together that’s going to make Chuck Pagano’s job that much easier-and easier for a old veteran like Cory Redding.
And for the team prepping for Pittsburgh Week 1 on September 11th.
“That is what its all about and that is huge and that is what we want,” said Redding. You want to know all the way, to see and be the kind of team you want to be, an opener with you rival what better game to start off the season than with the Steelers”
Tune into WNST following Ravens-Chiefs tonight for your Nasty Purple Post-Game Show!