Is Chris Canty in Danger of Losing His Starting Job?


Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws the ball as Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Canty (99) defends in the fourth quarter in the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. The Ravens won 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Canty wasn’t even sure he would remain in a Baltimore Ravens’ uniform heading into 2015 after the team released him in February and allowed the veteran defensive lineman to explore free agency. Canty received a little bit of interest from other teams, but ultimately resigned with Baltimore at a lower rate than what he was originally scheduled to earn.

Now the question that faces Canty is, will he be able to hold on to a starting job?  The Ravens added some big time talent along the line this offseason when they drafted Carl Davis in the third round, a guy who many considered a potential first round pick.  The Ravens also have other promising young linemen returning from injuries in Brent Urban and Kapron Lewis-Moore.

Canty is easily the elder statesmen of the current group as the only projected starter over the age of 27. The Ravens are likely happy to have him back with so much youth along their line, but it’s also highly likely they secretly hope he won’t have to play a lion’s share of snaps.  Canty held up reasonably well last season against the run, but only graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 31st ranked 3-4 defensive end out of 47 players.

Canty proved to be a liability as a pass rusher in 2014, only recording one sack and four hurries across 360 snaps.  Only four NFL defensive linemen ranked lower in that category.  His experience, however, and prowess in stopping the run (15 defensive stops in 2014) make him at the very least a nice piece of rotational veteran depth.

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With Haloti Ngata a Lion, playing time is certainly up for grabs.  There is a lot of competition along this unit for snaps, but little experience.  Only Canty and Brandon Williams have started four or more games in a season during their careers.  So even though everyone is excited about the upside of Timmy Jernigan, the question is, can he stay healthy and effective all season?

If not, and if the Ravens’ other young linemen take longer than expected to return to form following their devastating injuries, at least the team knows they can count on Chris Canty.  He’s a proven commodity that may not offer much upside, but at the very least won’t embarrass himself.  Just don’t expect the Ravens, or the bevy of young players behind him, to make things easy on him this offseason.

Next: Ravens looking to add a veteran pass rusher?

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