Linebacker Albert McClellan comfortable inside and outside

Rush backer made first career start for Ray Lewis last season and isn't sure which spot is best for him

August 03, 2012|By Edward Lee

Albert McClellan joined the Ravens in 2010 as an outside linebacker, shifted inside last season, and finds himself returning as an outside pass rusher. So where does McClellan see himself fit?

“I see myself wherever they need me,” he said with a smile after Thursday’s practice. “I’m just taking in every position they throw at me and I’m trying to be the best at them. Wherever they need me, I’m going to play. I’m going to give it my all, and I hope my all is what they need.”

McClellan registered 19½ sacks in 48 games at Marshall University, but got his first career start at inside linebacker when he filled in for 13-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis (toe) against the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 24. In that 16-6 win on Thanksgiving night, McClellan posted a career-best four tackles.

McClellan admitted that he feels torn about which position is more preferable.

“The more I play inside, the more I like it,” he said. “I can honestly say that. But I feel comfortable and at home at outside linebacker. That’s a more natural position for me to play. But I’m starting to like inside even more.”

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees said McClellan is flexible enough to play both positions.

“He knows that when he sits in the classroom, he’s primarily an outside backer, but he knows all the inside stuff, too,” Pees said Thursday. “Some practices, he gets a little bit inside. Some practices, he doesn’t. The other thing of it is, we already kind of know what he can do inside and some of these other guys we don’t. So we can’t get everybody every rep. You want to try to get guys that you want to be able to evaluate. So that’s kind of what we did. But he’s still a very versatile player.”

McClellan said he hopes that versatility will lead to a spot on the team’s active 53-man roster.

“The more positions I can play, the better chance I have,” he said. “So I can’t do anything but continue to get better at everything instead of just one thing. I’ve got to continue to get better at everything.”

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