Mckinney Goal: A Bigger Role



Defensive Tackle: Some Good Players In Front Of Me

August 03, 2009|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,

Depth at the defensive tackle position might have some observers thinking that Brandon McKinney is on the outside looking in.

But McKinney, who was signed by the Ravens on Oct. 8 after he was released by the San Diego Chargers, said he is eager to become a major contributor now that he has been a part of the defense for almost 10 months. The Ravens signed McKinney to a three-year deal in February.

"That makes me want to come out and work harder and work on my technique and get the defense down pat," he said. "I do know it all now. I should be able to play more this year by knowing the whole defense. I didn't know the whole defense last year after coming into the middle of the season."

McKinney made his first appearance in the team's loss to the Indianapolis Colts Oct. 12 and played in 10 more regular-season and three postseason contests.

McKinney, who registered 19 tackles including 12 solo stops, is bigger and stronger than he was last season. He's up to 360 pounds, adding mass to last season's playing weight of 324. He said his target weight is 345, but he doesn't want to shed pounds at the expense of losing his power.

With the presence of Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata, Justin Bannan and Dwan Edwards, McKinney knows the task of making an impression on the coaching staff lies on his shoulders.

"I don't try to do everything, but I try to make the plays I'm supposed to make," he said. "Those are some good players in front of me, and I give them all the credit in the world. I always watch the people in front of me. I watched [Chargers three-time Pro Bowl nose tackle] Jamal [Williams] out in San Diego. So I'm just waiting my turn. But when I get my chance like I did last year, I've got to show up."

Oher's the starter

Even though first-round pick Michael Oher has been anointed as the starting right tackle, Oher was supposed to be challenged by Adam Terry. Terry, however, is still recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, and he said Friday that the knee wasn't responding as he had hoped.

"I intended to be out there for the first day of practice, and it's a setback," said Terry, who had been scheduled for a magnetic resonance imaging exam Friday night. "No matter how it turns out this year, Michael and I are supposed to push each other. It's competition to make the line better. But it's not done yet. So we'll know pretty soon."

No break for Bannan

Even as members of what has been deemed "the 30-plus club" got a day off yesterday, defensive tackle Bannan continued to practice. So while linebacker Ray Lewis, free safety Ed Reed, defensive end Trevor Pryce, Gregg and center Matt Birk relaxed, Bannan sweated in occasional rain and sun.

"We had a couple guys go down, and we have three guys over 30 on the D-line," said Bannan, who turned 30 in April. "So one of us had to stay, and since I'm the youngest out of the 30-year-olds, it's got to be me. Someone had to do it, sacrifice for the greater good. Oh well, it's football."

Said coach John Harbaugh: "He's the youngest of the 'plus-30' guys, so he had to go."

End zone

Harbaugh said the club has not yet officially hired Al Saunders, a former head coach of the San Diego Chargers and recently a high-priced offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins. Saunders is still under contract with the St. Louis Rams after serving as offensive coordinator, and the Ravens must work out a job title and contract that is agreeable to the NFL and the Rams. "Al, right now, is a visiting coach, and that's where it stands right now," Harbaugh said. "We're thinking about him being involved in some sort of consultant-type basis, but he's in a stage of his career [where] he needs to decide how he wants to fit that in." ... Wide receivers Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams tweaked their left and right hamstrings, respectively, in the morning session, and Clayton was carted off the field with rookie tight end Davon Drew (right foot) midway through yesterday's morning session. Clayton did not practice in the afternoon. Outside linebacker Antwan Barnes suffered a mild concussion during a full-team drill and lay prone for about 90 seconds before walking off. But Barnes and Williams took part in the afternoon session. Linebacker Terrell Suggs (undisclosed) did not practice in the afternoon. ... Wide-out Kelley Washington (flu) was activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list.

Sun writer Ken Murray contributed to this article.

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