Kruger Sticking To Game



August 25, 2009|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,

As if Paul Kruger didn't have enough to worry about.

The rookie linebacker-defensive end, a former Utah standout, is aware of the scrutiny he has encountered as a result of the Ravens' investing a second-round pick in him in April's draft. And Kruger made his second consecutive start with the first defense this preseason as three-time Pro Bowl selection Terrell Suggs continues to rehabilitate a strained left Achilles tendon.

But the microscope became even more magnified last week when former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, now the coach of the New York Jets, questioned the organization's decision to give Michael McCrary's No. 99 jersey to Kruger.

On Monday night, Kruger performed well, making five tackles and deflecting three passes. Kruger said he wasn't trying to make a statement with Ryan - who he did not talk to after the game - standing on the other sideline.

"I don't care if I impressed him or not," Kruger said. "As long as I'm doing my best and my coaches are happy, things are going good."

Kruger, who was not happy with what he called a "weak" pass rush on his part, was equally displeased with what he thought were some shots taken by Jets players. He said an offensive lineman tried to crack-block him and he got into a minor tussle with tight end Kareem Brown in the second half.

"Over by their sideline, they were definitely picking me out," he said. "But it's all part of the game. They'll try to get into anybody's head if they can. It doesn't bother me at all."

Kruger emphasized that he harbors no ill will towards Ryan.

"I'm sure he's a great guy, and I'm sure that if he was the coach here, we'd be good friends," Kruger said. "I don't have any beef with anybody. I'm just going to play hard. There's always little things going on with every single game, but once the first play goes off, you're not thinking about any of that."

Back in Baltimore

When Ryan stepped onto the field at M&T Bank Stadium during warm-ups, linebacker Jarret Johnson was one of several players to welcome back their former coach. Secondary coach Chuck Pagano was one of the first assistants to exchange hugs with Ryan.

It was also a homecoming of sorts for former Ravens Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, Marques Douglas and Mike Kracalik ---all of whom represented the Jets for the coin toss.

Scott recorded two quarterback hurries on Joe Flacco, Leonhard made three tackles and returned one punt for 17 yards, and Douglas madeone tackle.

Injury report

In addition to Suggs, the Ravens deactivated wide receivers Mark Clayton (strained left hamstring) and Biren Ealy (groin), cornerback Samari Rolle (physically-unable-to-perform list/neck), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (right knee) and offensive tackle Stefan Rodgers (right leg).

Demetrius Williams, who started for Clayton, finished with zero catches and was targeted just once.

The Jets deactivated four starters: defensive tackle Kris Jenkins (Maryland), offensive tackle Damien Woody, cornerback Darrelle Revis and kicker Jay Feely.

End zone

Rookie Graham Gano handled kicking duties in the first half, connecting on two extra-point attempts and putting one of three kickoffs in the end zone and two at New York's 2-yard line. Steve Hauschka kicked an extra point after Jameel McClain returned an interception 16 yards for a touchdown in the waning seconds of the second quarter.

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