Matt Judon, Rookie Pass Rushers Impress With Veterans Out


Ravens rookie outside linebacker Matthew Judon had an ACL tear in college, so he especially felt bad when he saw that his first career NFL sack ended Jets quarterback Geno Smith's season.

Still, Judon will take it. He's "off the schneid," as he put it,meaning he's ended his sack-less streak.

"It felt really good to get on the board," Judon said. "I came here to rush the passer. I think I've been doing a good job, but hadn't been able to get to the quarterback."

With Terrell Suggs (biceps) and Elvis Dumervil (foot) sidelined for Sunday's game against the New York Jets, the Ravens got a look at the future of their pass rush. And it looked bright.

Rookie fifth-round pick Judon notched two sacks and second-round pick Kamalei Correa punched the ball out of Jets running back Matt Forte's hands on the goal line (only to be fumbled back to New York seconds later).

On Monday, Head Coach John Harbaugh said they, as well as second-year linebacker Za'Darius Smith, "played really good football."

Judon flashed the most of the bunch.

After Smith flushed Geno Smith out of the pocket, Judon tracked down the mobile quarterback on the edge of the field to take him down. Judon's second sack came in the fourth quarter on a stunt. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan cleared the way and Judon came up the middle in his gap.

"The guy has a lot of talent," Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said. "He's raw as a rookie, as they all are. The guy plays relentless. He's tough. He has all of the attributes that we like in a pass rusher. We were very pleased with the results last week."

Sunday marked* *the first extensive defensive action of the season for Correa. He had 32 snaps at right inside linebacker, according to Pro Football Focus, after seeing 15 total snaps in three other games played.

Correa made two tackles and forced the fumble. He came into the league talking about how he's just looking to make plays, and Correa did just that. Still, there's a question of where Correa will fit into the Ravens defense going forward.

"He kind of got introduced to the league a little bit and got forced into action," Pees said. "I thought he did a good job for going in there the first time."

Pees previously talked about taking some things off Correa's plate after he was learning multiple positions at the start of his career, but Linebackers Coach Wink Martindale said Correa is still a hybrid linebacker. Martindale said time and experience will help Correa most.

"I view him as a linebacker," Martindale said. "We did the same thing with [Zachary Orr]. We've done the same thing with any young linebacker we get. They play a bunch of different positons and then that way they understand the entire defense."

Now the question moving forward is how much action the young rushers will get once Suggs returns to the field, which he is determined to do after the bye versus the Steelers.

With Dumervil's status still unknown, Judon will likely continue to get snaps. But for he and Correa to be active, they also must continue to prove themselves on special teams.

"If the coaches and Suggs feel like I'm the best rusher for that down, I think I'll be in the game," Judon said. "If we feel like we have a better opportunity with Suggs and Za'Darius, they should be on the field. We're in the business of winning games."

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