Stuck behind veteran leader Daryl Smith and rising second-year Pro Bowler C.J. Mosley, Arthur Brown has a tough time finding snaps with the first team defense.
The Ravens, however, want to see just how far Brown, their second-round pick from 2013, has come.
Brown ran with the first-team defense Saturday night against the Philadelphia Eagles and had mixed results.
"Just say that right now, he has still got some work to do," Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said. "But I thought he played better as the game went on, and he started getting a feel for what the game was."
Brown has had a hard time trying to break through with the Ravens.
He played in 14 games as a rookie and saw 211 defensive snaps, per Pro Football Focus (PFF), notching 15 tackles, a half-sack and one forced fumble. Brown played in just four games last season, all on special teams. He didn't make any tackles.
Brown got a negative-1.2 rating from PFF for the Eagles game, in which he played 57 of the defense's 91 snaps. He received a negative ratings in run defense and pass coverage, but a positive-1.2 rating in pass rush as he notched one sack.
Brown has made strides this offseason. He added more muscle and has a better understanding of the defensive scheme and his role within it.
But as Pees said, there's still room to grow.
"It's a progression. I think there's improvement every day on my behalf," Brown said. "There are still some improvements that need to be made. We're competing every day defensively and individually. I'm just focusing on getting better."
What's mainly hurting Brown is that he hasn't carved out a spot on special teams. Reserve inside linebackers are generally the backbone of coverage and blocking units. Just look at Albert McClellan and past Ravens linebackers such as Josh Bynes, Jameel McClain and Brendon Ayanbadejo.
Last year's undrafted rookie free agent Zach Orr has made a stronger impression than Brown on special teams. Orr played in 15 games last year and made eight stops.
Brown said he feels like he needs to make his greatest strides on special teams.
"Technique has always been the biggest focus in that area," Brown said. "Really focusing in and taking the time to execute that. Sometimes I feel like, 'OK I've gotten better,' but I'm still not where I want to be."
The Ravens kept five inside linebackers last year – the same group they currently have on the roster. Thus, Baltimore could opt to keep the same group again. But if they're looking to save a roster spot, Brown, McClellan and Orr could be on the bubble.
"Honestly, I don't know much about the bubble," Brown said. "I hear about the bubble and only one thing I can do is to work every day keeping a goal in mind of getting better."