The Baltimore Ravens kick off the NFL Network Thursday night schedule of the 2010 season tonight against the Atlanta Falcons, and no one is more excited than Ravens defensive end Paul Kruger, who joined Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” Wednesday to discuss a battle between two similar teams atop their respective divisions.
“I think they are a great team,” Kruger told Forrester. “We have been watching tape as much as we can and you know I have nothing but good things to say. They do a lot of things well.”
The Ravens-along with the Falcons-are coming off a short week as Baltimore defeated the Dolphins 26-10 on Sunday, and had to prepare for a first-place team in Atlanta (6-2) in only several days of work.
“It’s tough,” Kruger said. “It’s definitely mentally and physically taxing but at the same time we are used to playing and the coaches have done a great job of getting us ready. You know, it has basically been full-go since we got done with the game on Sunday.”
But Kruger said they are ready to go.
“I think we are pretty prepared mentally,” Kruger said. “I think we are there and the trainers and staff have done an excellent job getting everyone ready for the game this week. A little more stretching and massaging, and more recovery this week with the real quick turnaround.”
The expectations for Kruger have been high since he was drafted in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Utah. Not seeing much action in his rookie year due to his inexperience playing on special teams and not being up to standards when it came to conditioning, Kruger has seen action in three games this year and has been more of a need for the Ravens after Baltimore released Trevor Pryce early in the year.
Kruger said that he has put a lot of effort toward improving that aspect of his game, wanting to be that pass rusher that the Ravens expected him to be when they drafted him high in last year’s draft.
“That is definitely something I have improved on a lot this off-season, and a real strength for me this year as a lighter guy is playing inside, kind of playing outside, and moving to different positions.”
And now healthy from a knee injury that he suffered early in October, he expects to be on the field each game out and he wants to perform in each of those games.
“I’m pretty sure I’m going to be playing from here on out unless I do something wrong or stop playing the way I can. The coaches have done a great job keeping me positive and informed me of everything going on.”
“And if anything is going to change, I am pretty much aware of it before anyone else is.”
And hopefully Kruger can make a play in Thursday’s game like he did in his only significant action in 2009.
Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to follow the Ravens throughout the 2010 season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!