Kruger Turns Up The Pressure

Third-year outside linebacker Paul Kruger nearly had two sacks in preseason opener.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Friday, August 12th, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Preseason 1 at Eagles, Ryan Mink

Paul Kruger has impressed his teammates and coaches in Ravens training camp.

Now he’s done it in Philadelphia.

The third-year outside linebacker was all over the field Thursday night, leading the Ravens with five tackles, including one sack. He nearly had two.

Kruger continues to show that this may be the year where he breaks out and earns more playing time on defense.

“It’s always good to get out there in a game and get some playing time,” said the 2009 second-round pick, who has been a backup thus far in his career. “It gets tiring getting out there and beating on each other at camp.”

Kruger’s sack came on his first series, once he replaced starting hybrid linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Kruger knifed around the edge and caught Eagles backup quarterback Vince Young back-peddling to get away. But he chased the signal-caller down for a 10-yard loss.

Kruger was also impressive in more than just pass rush. He held up well against the run and once chased down a wide receiver who was at least 10 yards down the field.

However, the Utah product also showed there are still some improvements to be made.

With Philadelphia facing a third-and-14 on the same drive, he again got into the backfield and went hard at Young. This time the big, shifty quarterback shook off Kruger’s arm tackle and delivered a 32-yard pass for a first down.

“You hate to miss those plays. We definitely needed that play,” Kruger said. “Those guys with speed, you’ve got to break it down. I just shot it too hard.”

Kruger has shown previews of his pass-rush potential in seasons past. He notched one sack last year, coming against Carolina in Week 11. Kruger also would have had a sack (and forced fumble) against Pittsburgh had it not been called back due to a penalty.

This year he said he’s realized that it’s time to break out and make a bigger contribution. And Kruger feels more comfortable back at linebacker as opposed to defensive end, where he bulked up to played last season.

“[Outside linebackers] Coach [Ted] Monachino has had a lot of patience with me and been a great coach and mentor for me this training camp,” Kruger said.

“The goal is to build off this. You take the good with the good and work on the bad things.”

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