Kruger quiets worries at linebacker for Ravens

  • Article by: NEW YORK TIMES
  • Updated: January 19, 2013 - 8:40 PM

Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger.

Photo: Gail Burton, Associated Press - Ap

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When Terrell Suggs tore his right Achilles tendon over the offseason, his Baltimore Ravens teammates were concerned, and that might be putting it mildly. How would the defense's pass rush hold up? Suggs seemed almost irreplaceable. "Guys were worried," defensive end Arthur Jones said.

In stepped Paul Kruger, a fourth-year linebacker whose understated résumé featured 6 1/2 career sacks and one start. If this did not foster much optimism within the locker room, his play soon did.

Kruger has been a force for the Ravens heading into Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots, moving seamlessly from roles at defensive end and linebacker to, he said, "kind of just doing everything."

Within the patchwork quilt that has been the Ravens' season, Kruger has been as rugged as a burlap sack. He had 7 1/2 sacks over the final eight games of the regular season, and nine total. He made a game-changing play in last weekend's divisional playoff victory over the Denver Broncos. And he has showcased such expert pass-rushing technique that his own teammates are studying film of him.

Kruger, 26, traveled a long road to reach this point.

"For me, it was just a process of figuring out where it's all going to fit together," he said.

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13
 
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