Jerry Coleman: Ravens Open Camp
The Ravens seem ready to fly into a season with a lot of new faces. Which are due in part to the turnover from winning the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t concern veterans such as Joe Flacco who is 1 of 7 players left from the 2008 draft class on this team.
Matt Elam is a part of that turnover and comes into training camp where he was a physical force at the University of Florida. He finished second on the team with tackles with 76 tackles with 2 sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Elam was the second Gator safety in history to be named First Team All-American. The transiting from that to being at the NFL level, he said, “I really don’t think about that. I just go out and keep on improving to be the best I can be. People have high expectations of me. They want me to do great things, but I’ve got to live up to my own expectations. The way I work and the way I study, I feel like that will take care of itself.”
Elam certainly answered every question with a humbling response, because first impressions are so very important, he just kept praising his new situation. That is what a rookie should do and as long as he keeps working, he can be an instant contributor to this team. His arrival is a part of a change on the defensive side of the ball and he brings a lot to the table with his quickness and being a fast leaner.
Another aspect that stands out is that Elam does not have an agent and built his own team during contract negotiations and one of the people to help with the process was his brother Abram Elam. Being a first round draft pick that really shows his character and how he conducts himself off the field.
That certainty gets notice by the coaching staff Head Coach John Harbaugh alluded to the fact, that he is certainly young and will a few mistakes here and there, “but Matt will make them fast. He’s a very aggressive player, very smart, and he’s going to be a key contributor for us.” He is impressed with him and all the rookies, because that is how a team becomes successful is through the draft and being to keep players around a franchise to establish relationships with one other and to work towards a common goal that they all are fighting for.
Coach Harbaugh also addressed the current injury situation and how things have progressed after having the last 5 weeks off. Harbaugh seemed pleased with the early progress, as did Flacco. Joe is dealing with a new contract, new fame and a new Center in Gino Gradkowski, something he also addressed.