Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil doesn't see more dirty work in playing on first and second downs, which are typically seen as run-heavy downs.
He sees more sacks.
With Terrell Suggs out for the remainder of the season due to a torn Achilles, Head Coach John Harbaugh said Dumervil will play more on early downs. That's just fine by Dumervil.
"I am excited for the opportunity, especially in this defense," Dumervil said. "I think that's a really good position to play, and I get to rush more. That's kind of what I love to do.
"I think on first and second down, people pass the ball,* *too."
While with the Broncos, Dumervil was an every-game starter and nearly every-down player from 2007 to 2012. He had some of his best years, including a 17-sack season in 2009 in which he also made 49 tackles and 11-sack year in 2012 when he made a career-high 54 tackles.
Since joining the Ravens in 2013, and as Dumervil has entered his 30s, Baltimore has shifted him more and more into a pass-rushing role to maximize what he does best – dropping opposing quarterbacks.
Once joining the Ravens, Dumervil split the starting role – even on the depth chart – with Courtney Upshaw. He played about half of the game's defensive snaps. Those results showed themselves last year, when Dumervil produced 17 sacks, tying his career high.
But while Dumervil accepted and maximized his new role, he always wanted to do more and always worked in practice on all facets of his game.
"With so much talented depth when I was here with [Pernell] McPhee, and obviously Suggs, Upshaw, you just do what you've got to do to* *sacrifice for the team, and I'm a team guy," Dumervil said.
"But don't get it twisted; they throw the ball [on] early downs, too. So, I'm excited for that opportunity. There [are] more opportunities to rush the passer – you've just got to be more disciplined versus the run."
Along with more pass-rush situations, there will also be more run-stopping responsibilities, as well. Dumervil said he trained this offseason to be able to handle the run game, "just in case things happen." He said his technique as a run defender has improved under Linebackers Coach Ted Monachino.
Dumervil was asked for his take on having a reputation as a pass rusher but not a run stopper.
"I'm not going to toot my own horn, but to try to answer that question, I've played in the league – I've started first [and] second down," he said. "I think more than anything, when you know it is a run, any player can be a better run player."
In 2012, Dumervil received a negative-9.2 rating from Pro Football Focus (PFF) on his run defense. He made a career-high 54 tackles that year. His best rating against the run since 2007, when Dumervil became a starter in his second season, is negative-3.0.
The Ravens don't have to put Dumervil on the field for every down, however. He can still be supported by Albert McClellan, who also doubles as a run-stuffing inside linebacker, and rookie Za'Darius Smith.
"[Dumervil] is definitely capable of playing on first and second down, and he'll be out there on first and second down," Harbaugh said. "But there will be some kind of a rotation like we always do, and it'll be geared toward the guys we have."