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Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said he expects to see more of a pass rush presence from linebacker Jarret Johnson in 2011 after the tough-as-nails veteran was hampered by injuries at times last season.
“Jarret Johnson had some injuries,” Newsome told Ravens season-ticket holders in a recent conference call. “He had to rehab to get himself ready to play football. He was rehabbing injuries. I think we will see a better pass rush out of Jarret Johnson.”
If that happens, it would certainly benefit a Ravens’ defense that finished the 2010 campaign with a franchise-low 27 sacks.
Johnson, who owns 17 1/2 career sacks, logged 1 1/2 of them last season, as the Ravens relied heavily on fellow linebacker Terrell Suggs’ team-leading 11 during the regular season. The Ravens were able to get in the face of opposing quarterbacks, but landing the final shot proved more difficult than in the past.
The former fourth-round draft pick (2003) out of Alabama would never admit that injuries or rehabilitation affected his play, however.
It is uncertain which injury Newsome alluded to regarding Johnson, but the gritty linebacker did see time on the injury report for a back issue.
Even so, Johnson started all 16 games for the fourth consecutive year and finished fourth on the team with 77 tackles. Johnson has played in 113 straight games, the longest streak in franchise history.