Saturday, October 19, 2013
Kruger who? Dumervil excelling for Ravens
By Jamison Hensley
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens miss Anquan Boldin in the red zone. They miss Dennis Pitta on third down. They miss the leadership of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
What you've never heard this season is how much the Ravens miss pass-rusher Paul Kruger. The reason: The Ravens are getting a tremendous season out of Elvis Dumervil, who has played a big part in the Ravens ranking second in the NFL in sacks this season entering Week 7.
Dumervil had his best game as a Raven last Sunday, when he recorded two sacks and forced two fumbles. The previous week, his fourth-quarter sack in Miami backed up the Dolphins to the Baltimore 39-yard line, where they missed a potential game-tying 57-yard field goal.
"He's a heck of a player," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "The guy has got extraordinary balance, power and, for not a real tall guy, long arms and knows how to use them. I think he plays with great leverage, has got good speed. He's as advertised."
Through six games, Dumervil is second on the Ravens with five sacks and is tied with Terrell Suggs with 13 quarterback hurries. Kruger, now with the Cleveland Browns, hasn't had a sack in his past five games after recording one in the season opener.
Dumervil has been a much better value too. Kruger, who led the Ravens with nine sacks last season and added two more in the Super Bowl, left the defending champions when he signed a five-year, $40.5 million contract with the Browns that included $20 million guaranteed. Compare that to the five-year, $26 million contract signed by Dumervil that contains $8.5 million guaranteed.
This will be Dumervil's first game in the Ravens-Steelers rivalry, which he said looked intense from the outside. But this isn't Dumervil's first meeting with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Dumervil has recorded 3.5 sacks in four games against Pittsburgh, so he knows what it takes to bring down 6-foot-5, 241-pound Roethlisberger.
"The worst thing you can do as a pass-rusher is miss quarterbacks," Dumervil said. "That's the emphasis for any quarterback. Obviously with Ben, he's big and he's mobile. He's at his strength when he moves around. We have our hands full, so we have to make sure we come to play."