Courtney Upshaw plans on starting plenty of games in a Ravens uniform. Sunday's matchup against Philadelphia just happened to be the first.
The Ravens' top draft pick got his first NFL start during Sunday's 24-23 loss to the Eagles because outside linebacker Paul Kruger was out with a back injury.
"I went out there and I felt good after that first snap," Upshaw said. "Of course with me being a rookie, you kind of have those nervous tendencies."
Upshaw played nearly the entire game and made his presence felt along the defensive front. The Alabama product finished with six total tackles, including one for a loss.
Known as a talented pass rusher coming out of college, Upshaw did a solid job defending the run and getting after the quarterback. Upshaw didn't come up with any sacks, but he did chase Eagles quarterback Michael Vick around in the pocket to force some hurried throws.
"You're supposed to take a legal shot when you get the chance and that's what I wanted to do," Upshaw said. "Once I had my chance, I took my shots."
Vick ultimately got the best of Upshaw and the Ravens, as he finished with 405 yards of total offense and led the Eagles to an 80-yard touchdown drive to win the game.
"They are athletes and they're going to make plays here and there and we just did our best to contain them," Upshaw said about Vick and Eagles running back LeSean McCoy.
Upshaw said that he found out he was starting just before the game, once Kruger determined he wouldn't be able to play. Upshaw has been the third outside linebacker on the depth chart behind Kruger and Albert McClellan.
After a solid performance in Philadelphia, he could be challenging to get more playing time even when Kruger does get back on the field.
"I feel good, making improvements and things," Upshaw said. "I felt good, although I'm disappointed in the outcome because you always want to win the game."