Written by BSR Contributor: Judd Bleser. Follow Judd on Twitter @TheInternsTake
Last offseason, amongst frustration over playing time and with a fat contract offer on the table, Paul Kruger left for the Cleveland Browns.
This Sunday, we’ll see that familiar number 99 prancing around in his classic visor-and-untucked-back-flap look.
Sure, he’s going to look snazzy out there, but what type of impact will Paul Kruger have against his former team?
Kruger is listed as the team’s starting LOLB, meaning he will be faced up against the right side of the Ravens offensive line. With Michael Oher’s current uncertainty regarding an ankle injury, this will be an interesting matchup. If Oher can’t play, the Ravens will either put Ricky Wagner at right tackle or slide Kelechi Osemele over there and plug someone else in at guard.
Regardless, whether it’s a less-than-healthy Oher or a healthy Ricky Wagner or Osemele, Kruger should have the upper hand in pass-rush situations. After all, that is his specialty.
As far as defending the run, I expect Kruger to struggle as usual. He doesn’t have the build or skill set to take on blockers and set the edge; he’s more likely to try to make a swim-move around a blocker and take himself totally out of the play. John Harbaugh and Jim Caldwell know this to be a weakness, and being the savvy coaches that they are, I expect them to exploit it by running right at him.
When all is said and done, I can see Kruger finishing with a sack and a few tackles. He may make a flash play here or there, but it probably won’t be enough to effectively mask his deficiencies against the run. Regardless, I’m excited to see how he fares against his old squad.