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Ravens won’t hand a starting job to Courtney Upshaw

Courtney Upshaw AP

When the Ravens chose linebacker Courtney Upshaw in the second round of this year’s draft, there was much discussion about how pro-ready he was, coming out of Alabama.

And he took all the first team work in the spring, building on that impression.

But when Upshaw showed up at training camp over his target weight, and then suffered a shoulder sprain, he opened the door to competition for a starting job.

Second-year linebacker Albert McClellan has started both preseason games in his place, and Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it would be “pretty presumptuous” to assume Upshaw would be given a starting job.

You’ve got to earn your stripes. You’ve got to earn your position, no matter what,” Harbaugh said, via Matt Vensel of the Baltimore Sun. “I don’t know why a lot of people would think that. It’s pretty presumptuous. The best guys play.

Upshaw played with the ones and twos last week, but didn’t show up in the stat sheet (while McClellan, an undrafted rookie from Marshall has impressed).

Harbaugh said McClellan was performing at a “really high level.”

“You can probably describe Albert as a guy who is steady in all areas,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a good pass rusher. He’s kind of a leverage rusher. He can bend the edge and get leverage underneath the offensive lineman. He’s solid against the run. He sets the edge well. He does a nice job with his pass drops. He’s a guy with no real weakness. I’d say he’s plusses all across the board.”

That’s not to say they’re disappointed in Upshaw, he’s just not where many expected him to be, and the Ravens don’t seem inclined to wait.

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12 Responses to “Ravens won’t hand a starting job to Courtney Upshaw”
  1. ravenator says: Aug 21, 2012 3:33 PM

    Upshaw will be fine, just needs to get healthy from missin the start of training camp.

  2. steelersownyou says: Aug 21, 2012 3:50 PM

    Hahaha as if this sinking ship has another alternative! Can’t wait til we run the score up on these chumps this year!

  3. ahostiletakeover says: Aug 21, 2012 3:51 PM

    Albert was impressive to me last year as it was. Another undrafted linebacker in a long series of undrafted LBs to make the team, he led the team in special teams tackles last year and was solid in his one start on Thanksgiving vs the Niners. By all accounts the young man has been busting his ass to get better and its paying off.

    It doesn’t really matter who starts though, because they need all pass rushing hands on deck (or in dirt) with Suggs out ’til at least (extremely optimistic) November. Upshaw will really start coming along during the season once he truly gets his NFL feet under him.

  4. tellmeyouhaveaclue says: Aug 21, 2012 3:54 PM

    Great draft pick as usual by the Ravens – sitting on the bench while Suggs is out – heading for the cellar of the AFCN again…..

  5. stealersfannot says: Aug 21, 2012 3:54 PM

    It’s not his shoulder that concerns me. After years of watching Suggs explode off the corner, this kid just looks lackadasical off the snap. He’s just get started and it’s a long season and going to hopefully be a long and prosperous career, but he definitely needs to work on exploding off the snap if he wants to compete.

  6. steelersstillowntheafcnorth says: Aug 21, 2012 3:55 PM

    ravenator you said James Harrison is old but wait… ray lewis, ed reed and suggs are all young? come on now. be real

  7. Steeley McBeam says: Aug 21, 2012 4:12 PM

    Sounds like hes struggling. This should quiet the Mike Adams hate considering he was picked 20 spots ahead of him. But, were talking about Ravens fans so I’m sure theres an excuse.

  8. ravenpride says: Aug 21, 2012 4:14 PM

    Suggs just turned 30.. he isnt old. Edd and ray are though.

  9. rockthered1286 says: Aug 21, 2012 4:18 PM

    Upshaw will get there eventually, but Harbs is right you don’t just hand the guy a starter spot. McClellan has looked impressive, and again, the Ravens have the eye for talent and pick up another undrafted LB who turns into a gem (see McClain, Jameel).

    And no, I won’t sink to the level of Steeler trolls who live for nothing more than Ravens articles to post negative comments and outlandish things such as “running the score up” when they know damn well the Ravens completely demolished them in every aspect of the game last year in Baltimore, then Flacco threw a stadium silencer to Torrey to end the game in Pitt last year, then continued on to the AFCC while Pitt sat home and continued to tear through Puffs Plus after Tebow embarassed them… but yea. Suggs being out completely changes everything in their eyes so enjoy those happy thoughts…

  10. tyler200829 says: Aug 21, 2012 4:59 PM

    thats a lot of talk coming from fans of a team the ravens havent lost to since 2010. And havent lost in that hell hole since 2009. But oh upshaw is a bust and we are a terrible team? Makes sense

  11. deathonwings410 says: Aug 21, 2012 9:54 PM

    This isn’t a surprising development, Harbs and Pees have been raving about McClellan since the start of OTAs and minicamps. I think the competition is good for everyone, especially Upshaw. Hoepfully he turns it on as he gets experience and with Suggs possibly coming back, an even more experienced Kruger and Kindle, our team will be better. The pass rush could be ridiculous if we make the playoffs.

  12. guitarkevin says: Aug 22, 2012 10:29 AM

    @ Steelersownyou – Uh buddy. The Ravens have a standard when it comes to the condition of a player. IF Upshaw thought he was gettign the job handed to him, he obviously thought wrong and got a wake up call right away. He either fixes it or not. Either way, the Ravens don’t settle for less.

    @tellme… So when was the last time the Ravens were in the cellar of the AFCN?

    Keep hating you fools.

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