3 Emerging Ravens Training Camp Sleepers
By Brett Foote
Dec 22, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) gets tackled by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb (21) and linebacker Courtney Upshaw (91) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Like the wide receiver position, the Ravens have a ton of depth at linebacker. Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley have been getting most of the attention in training camp, and rightfully so. Both are big names and carry high expectations with them, and both have looked great in practice so far.
On the flip side, everyone has low expectations for Courtney Upshaw after he has developed a reputation for being out of shape and hasn’t lived up to the great expectations that followed him from college. But in reality, Upshaw is a well respected and important component of the Raven’s defense. And he is looking much improved in camp this year.
“I’m a big believer in him,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I love the way he sets the edge. He’s physical. He’s one of our smartest players. He calls out a lot of defensive signals and gets us lined up, in much of the same way Jarret Johnson did when he was here. He’s a solid pass rusher, and he’s a premier run defender.”
“Sometimes, when he sets the edge on a tight end, the ball may cut back immediately, and guys don’t see that,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “You see the cutback, you see the play, but you don’t really know why the guy cut back. Well, he cut back because Courtney has the tight end knocked about 2 yards back in the backfield.”
So while we may have been sleeping on Upshaw, the coaching staff certainly isn’t. They have not only taken notice of his efforts in camp, they are not afraid to shower him with compliments. So we’d say it’s about time we quit sleeping on him.