RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Pass Rush Improving

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Pass Rush Improving

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OWINGS MILLS – The Ravens notched three sacks against the Carolina Panthers, including one sack apiece from linebackers Terrell Suggs and Jameel McClain and defensive end Paul Kruger.

It was McClain’s first sack of the season, and he came free up the middle.

"We ran a little cross-dog inside that got Jameel and Cory [Redding] clean in there, so that was a good call and they executed it really well, but that’s the kind of pass rush team I think we’re going to need to be," Harbaugh said. "We’re not really a four-man, every-single-snap type of team that’s got four guys rushing them straight up through there.

"I think we’ve got to create some things and give some linebackers and different guys a chance, but then on the four-man rush, be able to get some pressure. We ran a four-man rush on Ed Reed’s interception, and Jarret [Johnson] came clean off the edge. So, we’ve got to try to mix those things and create as much pressure as we can."

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Suggs leads the team with 7½ sacks.

"I think Terrell is playing really well," Harbaugh said. "He’s a complete football player. There are things he can do better, and I’m on him about those things all the time. And I think he appreciates that because it’s really important to him that he plays well.

"Football, how he plays and how he contributes, really matters to him. He wants sacks. He wants tackles for losses. He wants to play technique well against the run. He really is a complete player, and that’s what you really appreciate about him. He’s playing very well."

RAVENS SIGN GUARD TO PRACTICE SQUAD: The Ravens signed offensive lineman Colin Brown to the practice squad.

Brown is a former Kansas City Chiefs fifth-round draft pick, a 6-foot-7, 341-pounder.

He takes over a practice squad spot held previously by offensive guard Bryan Mattison, who was promoted to the active roster Saturday when the team cut offensive tackle Scott Kooistra.

Brown played in the United Football League this season for the Hartford Colonials. He was cut by the Chiefs during their final major roster cut down.

FIVE RAVENS LEADING PRO BOWL VOTING: Five Ravens rank atop the voting in fans’ Pro Bowl balloting for the AFC squad.

All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis leads with 165,118 votes followed by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (129,460), safety Ed Reed (128,920), fullback Le’Ron McClain (125,535) and offensive tackle Michael Oher (112,565).

Fans’ votes count for one third of the voting with players and coaches accounting for the remaining portions.

TIME TO REST LEWIS?: Harbaugh said he has talked with Ray Lewis about cutting down his snaps to preserve the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year’s longevity.

Lewis, 35, is in his 15th NFL season, but isn’t ready to cut down on his playing time and remains a three-down linebacker.

"The response I basically get is, ‘When the time comes, we can talk about it,’" Harbaugh said. "And I agree with that. He’s humble enough to say, ‘The time is going to come,’ and he also is humble enough to admit that he won’t be the first one to recognize it, that I’ll be the first one to recognize it as the coach.

"Now, whether we agree exactly at that point in time, let’s just say it’s five years from now. Maybe it’s when he’s 40 years old we have to have that conversation. We’ll probably have a little fight, and I might lose at first. But ultimately, I think he’ll be willing to cut down on the number of snaps and keep playing and extend his career and help the team any way he can. That’s just who Ray is."

Lewis is the Ravens’ leading tackler with 91 stops and has also registered two interceptions, two sacks and one forced fumble. He returned an interception for a touchdown against the Panthers.

"He’s not going to easily admit that he’s not the best player on the field," Harbaugh said. "And right now, if I tried to make that case, it’d be an impossible case to make because he’s playing so well."


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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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