Eric DeCosta Interview
I had the pleasure of chatting with Ravens EVP and General Manager Eric DeCosta recently and we discussed various Ravens-related topics. In Part I of a five-part series of the DeCosta interview, the Ravens exec discusses the inside linebacker position, the growth of Patrick Onwuasor and Kenny Young and the developmental processes of Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams and why DeCosta believes that both are prepared to deliver on the potential that persuaded the Ravens to draft both linebackers back in 2017.
Editor’s Note: If you prefer to watch/listen click on the video below
TL: Listening to separate interviews with John and Steve, they seem to share a quiet confidence about the ILB tandem of Onwuasor and Young. Do you share that confidence and if so tell us what you saw in 2018 that invites such confidence?
ED: Well I think both guys have shown us that they can play winning football last year. Both are very good athletes and we love their passion for the game. They both had outstanding off seasons and both guys move very well in space. The game of football has changed over the years. Being able to run, bend your knees and cover running backs and tight ends – that’s a really, really important part of the job.
Both guys have a knack for making plays, both guys have played well on special teams. We’re excited about the group. I think Wink Martindale and Mike MacDonald, those guys are outstanding football coaches and those guys are going to do an outstanding job of getting our linebackers ready to play games on Sundays.
TL: With the departures of CJ Mosley and Eric Weddle, the Ravens lost some leadership as well as the primary candidates to wear the green dot. We’ve been hearing that Onwuasor is the most likely candidate to wear it in 2019. Talk about him embracing this new responsibility.
ED: Well I think first of all, we’re not sure who’s going to wear the green dot. We’ve certainly had different people wearing the green dot throughout practices, preseason games and regular season games. I think that’s going to be determined at some point. Peanut is a guy who has had some experience doing that in the past. Whoever it is, they’ll be prepared. That’s something that happens over time with practice, with repetition. And until you’ve worn a green dot you haven’t worn a green dot.
We’ll have somebody ready to go. Anytime you lose valuable leadership on defense there’s going to be a learning curve. But we’re confident that we have the right guys on defense to pick up the slack and put us in position to effectively run the defense.
TL: Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams haven’t performed as expected. What do you think has slowed the development for each and how can they get back on track in 2019?
We’re very excited about both guys and what we’ve seen over the years – players who get a chance to play, if they’re the right type of guys, they’ll improve and develop very quickly. We’ve seen that happen on defense over the years with a lot of players in our scheme. Both guys have had very, very good off seasons and watching those guys work over the last couple of weeks, I truly believe that each of those guys will be productive football players this year.
In Tyus, you’ve got a really, really good athlete who can do multiple things. He can play in space, he can rush the passer. He’s got a very good skill set for our defense in that he can play multiple positions.
In Timmy Williams you’ve got more of a traditional edge, pass-rush type of guy. He’s shown us a good first step with the ability to bend and close on the edge.
We’re excited about both guys. We think their future is now and they’re going to hopefully become the players we thought when we drafted them.
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