How Kruger Will Try To Make Flacco Miserable
Former Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger is off to a blazing start this season.
And he wants it to continue it this weekend as he chases after quarterback Joe Flacco.
"I can't put his start into words. It's electric," his Browns teammate and inside linebacker Karlos Dansby said, per the Akron Beacon Journal. "You see him play like that, he inspires everybody else to play at a different level. You gotta love it. I know I do."
A Cleveland reporter asked Kruger what he will do to make Flacco's life "miserable" Sunday.
Kruger said he has to attack him the way he attacked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees last week.
In years past, Kruger noticed Flacco would hold onto the ball longer to try to make a play downfield. But now, under the Ravens' new offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak, Flacco is getting the ball out of his hands quicker like Brees, which neutralizes the pass rush.
"So I would say, along the lines of Drew Brees, with somebody like that, you have to consistently be getting there," Kruger said. "That's how you're going to disrupt him. You're not just going to get there once or twice. You have to hit him over and over again."
Was Kruger successful in implementing that method against Brees last Sunday?
In addition to sacking Brees, he hit him three more times on the way to a 26-24 upset win.
It was Kruger's second sack of the season, which is already nearly half of what he got in all of 2013. In a conference call with Cleveland reporters yesterday, Terrell Suggs was asked why he thinks Kruger is already playing so much better.
Suggs gave credit to his former defensive coach Mike Pettine, who is now the head coach in Cleveland.
"Paul has always been a really good player, a special player," Suggs said. "Sometimes it takes a coach like Mike Pettine to bring it out."
Pettine agrees. His secret to success with Kruger is giving him the freedom to move around, lining him up on both sides of the line, and having a different game plan each week.
"Obviously, each game is going to bring different scenarios that sometimes you're doing different things — dropping into coverage and pass rushing more — so I completely agree," he said. "I do have a little bit more freedom."
Expect Pettine and the Browns defensive staff to draw up something special for Flacco and the Ravens.
A Look At How Rarely Flacco Lands On Injury Report
We already know Flacco has never missed a game in his seven-year NFL career. He has the seventh-longest consecutive start streak for NFL quarterbacks in league history.
But how rare is it to miss practice? Or even to appear on the injury report?
There isn't an official record for all practices, but when Flacco missed the session yesterday with an illness, ESPN blogger Jamison Hensley said it was the first in recent memory.
As for landing on the injury report, it was only the second time since 2009, per Hensley.
"Flacco has never missed a game in his NFL career. He's only been listed as questionable once, and that was the second-to-last game last season when he had a knee injury," wrote Hensley. "The last quarterback to start a Ravens game other than Flacco was Troy Smith."
For those that might be worried, several reports indicated that Flacco simply has a cold and is expected to play Sunday.
Kruger certainly expects to see him out there.
"Oh, he'll play,'' said Kruger, per Cleveland.com. "He's really a tough guy and very competitive.''
Timmy Jernigan Hopes To Avoid Surgery
Rookie defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan has a meniscus injury in his knee that could force him to miss a game or two, according to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.
"The hope for now is that the second-round draft pick will avoid having to undergo surgery," Wilson wrote.
Apparently Jernigan was injured last week in the win over the Steelers. The news comes on top of the Ravens losing two other defensive linemen for the year during training camp in Brent Urban (torn ACL) and Kapron Lewis-Moore (torn Achilles).
If Jernigan does miss time, the Ravens could look to defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi, who the Ravens claimed off waivers last week after the Bengals released him.
"I've been studying my playbook, getting with the coaches one-on-one, making sure I have everything down," Bilukidi told Wilson. "I'm a pro. When my name is called, I've got to get out there on the field and do my job. It's going to be good. I'm pretty excited for this game."
Any Interest In RB Green-Ellis?
The Ravens are very happy with Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro.
The three backs are picking up the slack after the Ravens parted ways with Pro Bowler Ray Rice.
However, that may not preclude the team from looking into free agent running back BenJarvus Green Ellis, who was cut in the preseason by the Bengals, says CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora in the tweets below. Green-Ellis is still rehabbing a hip injury he suffered in the preseason.
- Ravens defensive lineman Chris Canty hopes that the NFL's new HGH testing will set a level playing field. [The Baltimore Sun]
- Through two games, Ravens running backs are averaging an impressive 5.09 yards per carry. Meanwhile, the Browns have allowed the eighth-most rushing yards so far this season with 150.5 yards allowed per game. [The Baltimore Sun]
- Baltimore native and Browns rookie running back Terrance West doesn't like his "Baby Back" nickname. [CSNBaltimore.com]
- Jamal Lewis is among 15 first-year nominees on the initial ballot for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2015. [CSNBaltimore.com]
- @torreysmithwr: I think we know where he gets that huge smile from haha [Instagram]
- Do you believe the Steve Smith Sr. hype (in terms of fantasy)? [NFL.com]