Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked why Jadeveon Clowney has fit in so well and so quickly with the Ravens.
"First of all, he's a really good player," Harbaugh said. "He's very talented. Talent travels well."
Leading the team in quarterback hits with nine and tied for second with 3.5 sacks, Clowney has been omnipresent in a Baltimore pass rush that is tied with Buffalo for the NFL lead in sacks with 24.
A former No. 1-overall pick in the 2014 draft, Clowney is 30 years old and playing for his fifth team in six years. However, any doubt about his ability to be an impact player has been quickly erased. A proud player chasing his first Super Bowl ring, Clowney is playing with obvious fire and loves the atmosphere he has found in Baltimore.
"I want to show these guys that I've still got talent left and a lot of game left," Clowney said. "Being a part of this group, man, they're just bringing the best out of me. The work comes easy when you're enjoying it, and you can tell [that] everybody out here enjoys coming to work every day and it's rubbing off on me. I just keep having fun.
"I love going to practice with this group. Everybody brings their energy every day, and it rubs off on you – it's contagious – and it's paying off for me."
Clowney credited his teammates and Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald for putting him in prime position to make plays. Putting pressure on quarterbacks has been a collective effort by the Ravens, who have an NFL-high 11 players with at least one sack. But Clowney has been a consistent ringleader in their sack party.
"This is the best D-tackle group I've played with, and it makes my life a lot easier when you've got three guys that can go in there and just push the pocket and knock everybody back and shut the run down," Clowney said. "It makes our lives easier on the edge to where you can do anything.
"Mike might be the smartest defensive coordinator I've had. He puts everybody in position to make plays. With the stuff he draws, I'll be like, 'Mike, keep dialing it up!'"
Clowney has played 60.3% of Baltimore's defensive snaps this season, and the Ravens have relied on him more than expected after injuries to Odafe Oweh (ankle) and David Ojabo (ankle/knee). Oweh returned to practice Wednesday and could be close to rejoining the lineup, a possibility Clowney looked forward to.
"It's like another dog right there that we miss," Clowney said. "Oweh is a good pass rusher, and we need him, and a good run stopper. I think he's just waiting on his time for him to peak in this league.
"He kind of reminds me of myself – a guy that just comes to practice, works extremely hard and brings it every day and beats guys. It just hasn't rolled over to the games quite yet, and I feel like his time is coming. I tell him every day; 'I think you're like a sleeper, man. People [are] sleeping on you. You've got the talent; you've got everything. You've just got to come out here and keep proving people wrong."
Facing the Lions (5-1) is a challenge that Clowney is eager to take on. Detroit quarterback Jared Goff has only been sacked 10 times this season, and breaking down Detroit's wall of protection is a key to the game.
"It's going to come down to that in this game – their [offensive] front vs. our [defensive] front," Clowney said. "We know that going into this game who's going to dominate the line of scrimmage ... I think that's what we're going to have to do."