CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Reserve defensive back Derrick Martin isn’t contemplating the annual numbers game that’s involved in the Baltimore Ravens’ coaching staff and scouts’ evaluation of who’s going to make the final roster.
For Martin, he’s too busy making plays and making an impression at his new safety position to waste time worrying about whether he’s going to stick with the team again.
"I’ve been going through this ever since my rookie year," Martin said prior to the Ravens’ preseason game Saturday night against the Carolina Panthers. "It’s always the same thing. You can’t think about that or it could distract you from what’s really important.
"You just have to do your thing and let your play speak for itself. I like my chances, though. I can play safety, cornerback and special teams."
Through the Ravens’ first two preseason games, Martin was the only defensive back to intercept a pass for Baltimore. He picked off Washington Redskins quarterback Colt Brennan in the preseason opener, returning the interception 14 yards.
Against the New York Jets on Monday night, Martin registered three tackles and one pass deflection. And the converted cornerback appears to be closing in on one of the final roster spots because of his versatility and production.
"I think Derrick Martin has had a really good offseason, he’s had a really good camp, he’s had a really good spring," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "All you’ve got to do is watch the tape and see how he’s played.
"He plays that way every day in practice. It’s not like all of the sudden he jumps up and plays well in the game. He’s making a push to make our team, and he’s got a really good shot. He knows that."
Martin spent last season on injured reserve after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum.
Then, the Ravens didn’t extend him a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent after the season before later signing him to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum.
Now, they seem to value his contribution.
"Derrick is another one of those guys in that secondary that has shown some very good signs," defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said.
Martin entered training camp regarded as something of a long shot to make the team, but has made the most out of his opportunities at his new position.
"Yeah, I’m playing pretty good," Martin said. "With the amount of repetitions that I’m getting, I feel like I’m taking advantage of them. I’m out there playing my hardest. I’m starting to get used to safety and I’m liking it.
"You can see so much back there at safety. It’s kind of like being a quarterback out there. You can see everything and that’s where you can make your name for yourself. You can set up your tackles and how you break on the football."
WEDGE RULE: Despite the NFL changing the rules and outlawing three- and four-man wedges, the Ravens haven’t seen any illegal wedge calls this preseason.
Harbaugh has voiced his complaints, too, contacting NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira to let him know that he’s not happy about the lack of enforcement.
"I know in our two games the two wedges that got run, one was a four-man wedge and one was a three-man wedge, and they were zone wedges," Harbaugh said. "The purpose was to get that out of the game for injury reasons, and now it’s still in the game. I think that’s something that’s got to be resolved before the season starts."
From a safety standpoint, the rule change was supposed to prevent catastrophic injuries like the one suffered by Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett.
Based on what Harbaugh has seen, though, the rule isn’t being called the way it has been explained by the NFL competition committee and NFL officials.
"The guys that run the three- and four-man wedges have basically dove right into that so-called gray area, and they’re running wedges," Harbaugh said. "The whole purpose of the rule, to make the game safer, is not going to happen the way it’s been officiated in our preseason games."
QUICK HITS: The Ravens deactivated cornerback Samari Rolle (neck), wide receivers Mark Clayton (strained left hamstring) and Biren Ealy (groin), linebackers Terrell Suggs (strained left heel, Achilles’ tendon) and Dannell Ellerbe (sprained right medial collateral ligament), offensive tackles Oniel Cousins (sprained right ankle) and Stefan Rodgers (sprained right foot), nose guard Kelly Gregg (shoulder), tight end L.J. Smith (pulled hamstring) and offensive guard Chris Chester (sprained right calf). … Kelley Washington started at wide receiver ahead of Demetrius Williams. Marshal Yanda started at right guard in his most extended action yet of the preseason after missing the majority of last season with three torn knee ligaments. … Brandon McKinney started in place of Kelly Gregg ahead of Justin Bannan, . … Rookie second-round outside linebacker-defensive end Paul Kruger started his third game in a row in place of Suggs. … The Panthers deactivated linebackers Jon Beason and Thomas Davis, offensive guard C.J. Davis, running backs Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams and safeties Charles Godfrey and Nate Salley. …Cornerback Lardarius Webb led the Ravens with seven tackles, including one for a loss.