The Ravens' OTAs are a testing ground for Michael McAdoo.
The 6-foot-7 outside linebacker with loads of physical potential has hardly played any competitive football in two years due to an NCAA suspension in 2010 and a knee injury that landed him on injured reserve last season.
With so much time away from the game, McAdoo wasn't sure what to expect from himself. Turns out, he feels he's off to a good start.
"I feel like I'm further ahead," he said. "There's always work to be done, but I feel like I'm better than I thought I was going to be."
McAdoo said he could play more physical than he thought, and was also happy with how he was getting off the ball.
Playing at rush linebacker, McAdoo showed*good burst on the edge in Wednesday's practice. He's able to keep offensive tackles at bay with his long arms, enabling him to better turn the corner and also to shed blocks and *make tackles.
McAdoo had problems when he got too far*inside on offensive tackles, allowing them *to neutralize his speed. Standing in at 245 pounds, McAdoo is still far outweighed by offensive linemen.
"It was a slow start, but I got my feet back under me and found my second wind," McAdoo said. "It's been going good. It just feels good to be back out there on the field after so long."
After not being selected in the supplemental draft last year, the Ravens signed McAdoo late last August* *and he was able to play in the final preseason game. He logged a sack and forced fumble when he easily beat an offensive tackle.
He made the active roster, but was placed on injured reserve after one week. McAdoo is in the mix behind Paul Kruger and Courtney Upshaw, competing with Sergio Kindle and Albert McClellan.
He's still the youngest player on the Ravens' roster at 21 years old.
In Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees' eyes, most of McAdoo's work needs to be on learning the defense.
"I mean, he spent a year out – really, a couple years out – so his is just a matter of getting in there," Pees said.
"[He and Kindle] are not rookies, but they're close. And so it's a matter of getting out there and just getting the reps and really learning the defense. And you can really tell … a guy plays at a much higher rate of speed when he knows what he's doing, and that's really the key thing."