Defense Has a Decent Day
As far as the defense goes, they appeared to have a decent practice, not great. The one player I couldn’t stop talking about was Paul Kruger. He looked as if he had something to prove yesterday. He was all over the field in the run game, pass rush and even in pass coverage. He made a spectacular diving pass deflection that I thought he wasn’t capable of where he left his feet to break up an out route. Also, he displayed why the Ravens used him as a situational pass rusher because no one on the line could stop him. Ramon Harewood, Kelechi Osemele and Michael Oher all struggled containing the 6’4”, 270lb outside linebacker from Utah. If he emerges this year, along with Courtney Upshaw and Sergio Kindle, the Ravens could have serious depth at a position that appeared damaged because of Terrell Suggs’ achilles injury.
Ray Lewis looked good and quite different with his new-lighter frame. He appeared to move a little faster, even though he sometimes overran the holes on run plays. Ray will have to adjust to his new body and I have a big concern with him. While he did show more speed than last year, will it hurt him in the run game? Last year, Ray was taking on more blocks than ever and not scraping off of them like he normally did. Yes, he is 37-years-old, but he still has a dominant physique that keeps him playing at a high level. I think Ray will have to focus on scraping more so this year than previously because with less weight on his body, he won’t be able to go body-to-body up against the biggest guys in the league anymore. It will be interesting to see how Ray plays this year in both the run and pass game, but I don’t expect much to change in his game. He will still be the same Ray Lewis, still a great leader and still one of the most technically sound tacklers in the game today.
Overall, practice was enjoyable and I thought the team looked good. It was a shame not to see Matt Birk, Jah Reid and others not out there practicing, but that is just the nature of training camp. The team kept it entertaining, more so than Gerry Sandusky, Qadry Ismail and Stan White did as they were telling us how football is played. This Thursday, the fun begins.