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Paul Kruger Flashes In Run Defense

Posted Oct 8, 2012

Paul Kruger had three tackles for loss against the Chiefs on Sunday.

Outside linebacker Paul Kruger isn’t starting. But that doesn’t mean he’s not making an impact.

While the Ravens had major problems stopping running back Jamaal Charles in the first half Sunday, Kruger made a few flash plays.

He logged three tackles for loss for a collective -13 yards and finished with five stops on the day.

“It’s always nice to make those plays,” Kruger said. “That’s really what you play for, to help your team as much as possible and be a guy they can rely on.”

Kruger started in Week 1 against Cincinnati and had two tackles and one sack. Yet he had issues against the run, as the Bengals put up 129 yards on the ground.

A back injury knocked Kruger out of the next game in Philadelphia, and top pick Courtney Upshaw took over the starting position. Upshaw’s been there in the three games since, and Baltimore’s run defense solidified.

Back in more of a pass-rushing role, Kruger notched his first full sack last week against Cleveland.

On Sunday, he showed he can make plays in the run game too, especially with Kansas City committing to it even in typical passing situations.

It was third-and-8 when Kruger made his first stop for loss of three yards on Shaun Draughn.

On first-and-12 with the Chiefs deep in Ravens territory in the second quarter, Kruger made a tackle for an 8-yard loss. Penetration by Pernell McPhee forced Jamaal Charles backwards and Kruger closed in fast to finish the running back off.

Facing second-and-20 on the next play, the Chiefs ran again. Kruger hit Charles for a 2-yard loss, forcing Kansas City out of the red zone.

“[Charles] is the type of back that can really hurt you anywhere,” Kruger said. “You’ve got to do a good job of swarming him from all areas.  Courtney, Albert [McClellan] and myself, we really focused on it all week.  We tried to contain and keep him inside the hashes.  We did the best we could.”

Kruger was asked whether he feels like he’s starting to hit his stride after five games.

“Every week everybody wants to get better,” Kruger said. “That’s just part of the season. You just want to progress each week and I’m doing my best to do that.”

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