In the Ravens’ 2011 defense, Terrell Suggs played roughly half of his snaps at outside linebacker, and the other half at defensive end. Suggs tore his Achilles’ tendon earlier this month, and the Ravens are now trying to replace those snaps.
While much of the early speculation centered on rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw, Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times reports that former second-round pick Paul Kruger is getting the first crack at Suggs’ rush linebacker position.
“It’s early to say what will happen,” conceded Kruger, “but this is what we’re doing now. I’m told where I’m going to line up and I do it.”
Kruger recorded a career-high 5.5 sacks last season, and is more familiar with coordinator Dean Pees’ defense than Upshaw. Upshaw is practicing at strong-side linebacker — Jarret Johnson’s old position. Johnson is now a San Diego Charger.
Kruger certainly won’t lack motivation to excel in what Suggs patented as a highly productive and active position in Pees’ system. It’s the last year of Kruger’s rookie contract, and he could strike it rich on the 2013 free agent market with a breakout season.