Rook­ies to step in for pass rush

In­juries to vet­er­ans might place a big­ger bur­den on OLBs Judon and Cor­rea

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS & NFL - By Jeff Zre­biec jeff.zre­biec@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/jef­fzre­biec­sun Bal­ti­more Sun re­porter Ed­ward Lee con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle.

With Elvis Dumervil and Za’Dar­ius Smith deal­ing with in­juries and rush line­backer Ter­rell Suggs still work­ing his way into game con­di­tion, the Ravens might have to lean heav­ily on two rookie pass rush­ers in Sun­day’s road game against the Cleve­land Browns.

Rookie fifth-round draft pick Matthew Judon­played13s­napsinSun­day’svic­to­ry­over the Buf­falo Bills. Sec­ond-round se­lec­tion Ka­maleiCor­reaplayedex­ten­sive­lyon­spe­cial teams in his first NFL reg­u­lar-sea­son game, but he wasn’t on the field for any de­fen­sive snaps. Both play­ers, along with vet­eran Chris Carter, could be in line for big­ger roles with Dumervil (foot) ruled out and Smith listed as ques­tion­able for Sun­day’s game.

Smith, a sec­ond-year pro out of Ken­tucky, played 36 de­fen­sive snaps last week, more than any other Ravens out­side line­backer. He didn’t prac­tice all week be­cause of an an­kle in­jury, and Ravens who don’t prac­tice dur­ing the week tra­di­tion­ally don’t play in the next game.

“They’ve both done a tremen­dous job and have demon­strated that they can play in this league,” Ravens coach John Har­baugh said Fri­day when asked about Judon and Cor­rea. “That’s an on­go­ing process, and what­ever op­por­tu­ni­ties they get, we’ll be ex­pect­ing them to make the most of it.”

The team’s in­jury prob­lems at out­side line­backer come at a time when Suggs is not yet ready to re­sume play­ing an ev­ery-down role — hep­layed in 63 per­cent of the de­fen­sive snaps last week — and the team has pri­or­i­tized get­ting pres­sure from off the edge against vet­eran Browns quar­ter­back Josh McCown, who per­formed well against the Ravens last sea­son.

Judon, one of the team’s pre­sea­son stand­outs, had a rel­a­tively quiet de­but against the Bills with one tackle and one quar­ter­back hit. Cor­rea had a strong start to train­ing camp, but he didn’t make a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact in pre­sea­son games and has ac­knowl­edged that he’s still learn­ing the de­fense.

“I wouldn’t say the de­fense has got­ten eas­ier, but it is slowed down for me in know­ing [it] scheme-wise,” he said Fri­day. “Now I’m kind of look­ing to­ward what is the of­fense go­ing to show us in this scheme and what am I ex­pect­ing from them? In that sense, it is kind of slow­ing down. Now I just need to pick up what the of­fense is kind of Rookie Matthew Judon, shown in a pre­sea­son game against the Lions, might play more Sun­day af­ter be­ing on the field for only 13 snaps in his de­but against the Bills. throw­ing at us, so I can play a lit­tle faster than I am.” Five Ravens ques­tion­able: Smith is one of five Ravens who are listed as ques­tion­able on the in­jury re­port. The other four are wide re­ceiver Bre­shad Per­ri­man (calf ), of­fen­sive line­man JohnUrschel ( shoul­der), line­backer C.J. Mosley (thigh) and cor­ner­back Jer­raud Pow­ers (an­kle).

Per­ri­man, Urschel, Mosley and Pow­ers prac­ticed in full gear Thurs­day and Fri­day, and are ex­pected to play bar­ring a set­back. Per­ri­man said Thurs­day that he’ll be ready to play, and Har­baugh pro­nounced Urschel ready to go ear­lier in the week. Allen sur­prised by de­mo­tion: The sit­u­a­tion wasn’t com­pletely un­fa­mil­iar to Ravens run­ning back Buck Allen. At South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Allen had to wait be­fore get­ting op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Tro­jans back­field. Sun­day was prob­a­bly even tougher to take for the sec­ond-year pro.

Allen, a fourth-round pick in 2015, felt he had es­tab­lished a role with the Ravens af­ter he rushed for 514 yards and a touch­down, caught 45 balls for 353 yards and two scores, and started six games as a rookie. How­ever, when the Ravens opened the sea­son, Allen was a healthy game­day in­ac­tive.

“Go­ing from a starter on a team to not dress­ing is pretty tough,” Allen said, ac­knowl­edg­ing that he was sur­prised by the de­ci­sion. “That’s a feel­ing that’s some­times hard to swal­low. But I al­ways be­lieve in God and trust that he’s got a plan. At the end of the day, they made their de­ci­sion. I can’t do noth­ing but come to work this week­end.”

Har­baugh said Mon­day that he wasn’t com­fort­able hav­ing Justin Forsett and Ter­rance West (Tow­son Uni­ver­sity, North­west­ern High) as the only two backs ac­tive, but he felt the team needed all its wide re­ceivers in uni­form be­cause of the game plan. What that means for Allen on Sun­day is un­clear. His ros­ter spot would be more ten­u­ous if Ken­neth Dixon weren’t side­lined with a knee in­jury. Forsett hon­ored: Forsett named the NFL Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion’s Week 1 Com­mu­nity Most Valu­able Player for his ef­forts in help­ing the Ba­ton Rouge, La., com­mu­nity in the af­ter­math of the flood­ing that rav­aged the area last month. Barnidge a threat: Browns tight end Gary Barnidge didn’t have a catch in Sun­day’s loss to the Philadel­phia Ea­gles, but the Ravens know the type of im­pact the vet­eran can have on a game.

Barnidge torched the Ravens de­fense last sea­son. In their first meet­ing, he caught eight passes for139 yards and one touch­down in the Browns’ 33-30 win at M&T Bank Sta­dium in Bal­ti­more on Oct. 11. In the sec­ond meet­ing, Barnidge had seven catches for 91 yards in a 33-27 vic­tory for the Ravens on Nov. 30.

“He’s a real good player,” weak-side line­backer Zachary Orr said. “Ob­vi­ously, we wit­nessed it twice last year, how dan­ger­ous he is. He killed us in both games. He’s def­i­nitely some­body we have to get con­trol of early, and you know they’re go­ing to go to him.”

Barnidge had the high­est and sec­ond­high­est re­ceiv­ing yards to­tals by a tight end against the Ravens last year.

KARL MER­TON FERRON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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