Ravens LB Kristian Welch earned a defensive role after ‘practicing well’

Ravens, Kristian Welch (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ravens, Kristian Welch (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens have seen much better play out of their linebackers in recent weeks. Patrick Queen is playing the best football of his career while Josh Bynes continues to play at a very high level.

But in Week 12, it wasn’t just Queen, Bynes, and veteran Chris Board who saw the field. Special-teamer Kristian Welch saw consistent playing time on defense for the first time this season.

Welch was on the field for 10 defensive snaps this past Sunday which marked the first time that the young linebacker had received more than one defensive snap in a game since garbage time in Week 17 of 2020.

Previously, Welch had played just one snap on defense this season, that coming back in Week 3. But the Ravens rewarded Welch with an increased role this week.

What changed?

The Ravens rewarded Kristian Welch for his performances in practice

Head coach John Harbaugh spoke to the media on Monday and was asked about Welch’s seemingly newfound role on defense. Harbaugh insisted that Welch earned his spot because of how well he had been practicing.

Signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft, Welch appeared in 10 games as a rookie being promoted full-time to the active roster in early November.

The former Iowa standout played almost exclusively on special teams which was his role when he returned again in 2021. Evidently, the Ravens felt that he deserved an opportunity to contribute on defense.

Welch only played a handful of snaps, but there’s reason to believe his semi-regular role on defense will continue for the foreseeable future.

The Ravens are a bit thin at inside linebacker at the moment, and even though Malik Harrison is working his way back, it seems as though the plan is to play him at outside linebacker once he returns.

That could leave Welch with a golden opportunity to establish himself as a consistent defensive contributor.

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It’s always nice to see hard work rewarded. And that’s exactly what the Ravens have done with Kristian Welch.