Reporting Rob Long
With so much talk about the Baltimore Ravens offensive line, the work that the defensive line put in gets lost. Truth is, the defensive front of the Ravens played very well against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Sure, you know what Haloti Ngata is going to bring and as usual, he brought it. Terrence Cody showed signs of putting things together for the 2011 season as well during the first quarter. If he can be the force in the middle that the team expected him to be, the defense could be very good this year. However, he needs to get off of blocks better.
The two players on the defensive line that impressed more than any were third player Paul Kruger and rookie Pernell McPhee. Kruger seemed to be around the ball on nearly every other play. He had five tackles and sack but it seemed that he had a hand on a dozen or more plays throughout the night. There were times he forced the play back towards other teammates for them to make plays.
Now, I’m not saying Kruger single-handedly justified the second-round pick the team spent on him in 2009, but he looks to be fitting into the Ravens’ plans last night. I spoke with Kruger last pre-season and he was very disappointed that the team had decided to move him to the interior line, but it looked like he finally embraced the idea last night.
Rookie Pernell McPhee had not impressed me a lot during practice this pre-season, but was incredibly active last night as well. The stat line says he had one tackle and one quarterback hit, but if you watched that game on Thursday night, you would have figured he would have put up better numbers.
McPhee is a “high motor” guy who’s always in position to make a play. He consistently forced the ball back to the middle to blow up what the Eagles wanted to do. He has become the guy on defense that I’m interested in watching as the pre-season advances.
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