Terrence Cody came into this year's training camp with big questions surrounding him.
The former second-round pick was working his way back from offseason hip surgery, and his roster spot was in question after a disappointing 2012 season. Cody first had to get healthy, and then he had to compete for reps on an upgraded defensive line.
After the first two weeks of the preseason, Cody has shown improvement and he could be in store for a bounce-back season.
"He's played well in training camp, so there's no issue with Terrence and the way he's playing at all," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He's graded out really highly, and I think he's improved."
Cody has notched four total tackles so far in the preseason. Working at nose tackle behind Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata, Cody has taken snaps with both the first- and second-team defenses.
He has been one of the Ravens' best defensive players during the preseason, according to the statistical analysis website Pro Football Focus (PFF).
In his 50 plays of the preseason, Cody has earned a 3.4 grade from PFF, the second highest grade of any player on the defense. The 6-foot-4, 340-pound defender has been especially stout against the run, eating up blockers at the line of scrimmage and allowing the linebackers to get free for tackles.
"He knows he's competing for a job. They're all competing for a job every week," Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said. "I think he's really played pretty well in practice. I've seen good things from him. I feel very encouraged by him."
Last season was a challenge for Cody, as he lost his starting nose tackle spot to veteran Ma'ake Kemoeatu. He ended up starting just three games during the season and finished the year with 25 total tackles.
But Cody was hurt all year.
He dealt with an elbow issue and the hip problem, but he kept the hip injury to himself and tried to play through the pain.
"He was injured, and a lot of people didn't know it," Pees said. "He didn't say anything about it. He didn't tell anybody about it. And then we found out, and he ends up having offseason surgery. So, that tells me a lot about the kid right there.
"He took a lot of heat for maybe not playing as well as he should have, but I think to his credit, he's come back."
Cody had the hip surgery after the Super Bowl, and the procedure kept him off the field for the entire offseason program. He returned to practice at the start of training camp last month, and the coaches could see a difference.
"The hip being healthy has helped him, it seems like, but more than that, his technique is a lot better," Harbaugh said. "He's playing with his hands. He's playing square and just playing with more power. He's moving his feet a little better."
Cody now has two more weeks of practice and two preseason games to cement his roster spot and challenge for more snaps with the first-team defense. He's made progress this offseason, and his focus now is to carry that into the regular season next month.
"We've worked well together, and practiced well, and we're just battling with each other," Cody said. "I'm really excited just to see what the defense is going to do."