New Faces Notching Sacks

Paul Kruger and Jameel McClain helped tip the pass-rush scales in the Ravens’ direction.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Categories: 2010 Season, Mike Duffy, Week 11 at Panthers

Ravens fans have been waiting for 2009 second-round draft pick Paul Kruger to make an impact with the pass rush, and he did with a key sack last weekend against the Carolina Panthers.

Add in linebacker Jameel McClain and defensive end Cory Redding, who were both regularly in the backfield at Bank of America Stadium, and the Ravens seem to be righting the ship when it comes to getting after quarterbacks.

Terrell Suggs leads the Ravens with 7 ½ sacks, and if he continues this pace, he will exceed his career-high of 12 sacks his rookie season. Meanwhile, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has been a consistent presence on the rush.

But Head Coach John Harbaugh was happy to see more names involved.

“That’s the kind of pass rush team I think we’re going to need to be,” Harbaugh said in his Monday press conference.  “We’re not really a four-man, every single snap type of team that’s got four guys risking them run 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.”

Against the Panthers, the Ravens got three sacks – one each from Kruger, McClain and Suggs.  Redding was also a nuisance with one tackle for a loss and solid pursuit of Panthers’ quarterback Brian St. Pierre all day.

Kruger’s came on first down of Carolina’s final drive of the first half after running a textbook spin move, a notice that the former outside linebacker is getting more comfortable with his role on the defensive line.

“He brings a lot of energy,” Harbaugh noted.  “Technique-wise, there are a lot of things he can do better to be a better pass rusher, but he’s got the ability to be that kind of guy coming off the edge.”

McClain’s sack also came in the second quarter, dropping St. Pierre for a 3-yard loss and eventually leading to a Carolina punt. It was McClain’s first sack in nearly two years.

McClain, a former defensive end at Syracuse, attributed his sack to the defensive line eating up blocks to allow him to run free.

“The D-line got after it,” McClain said. “With the blitz calls, we got a chance to get after them and get them to throw it on the quick.”

At the end of the day, Harbaugh maintained the mantra he’s kept all season in regards to his pass rush, which is currently 21st in the NFL with 19 sacks on the year.

“Three sacks are not enough,” Harbaugh said. “We want more. We want more sacks. We want more hurries. We want more quarterback hits. We want more.”

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