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.
Let really think about Kruger, 4 year a Raven three of which when I saw 99 on the field I had to look at the program to know who it was, It sure it was not Michael McCrary. Then in his contract year he wakes up, but the first half of the season he was not outstanding. When Suggs got back on the other side other teams focused on him leaving Kruger to get after the QB. Cleveland went way over board on his contract 40 million for what a one year wonder. As I think back he isn’t even in the top 8 outside LB’s that have played. The Ravens let him walk and I think these are the reasons the Ravens are at the top of there game and Cleveland is Cleveland. They have never been able to make anything work since they have been back in the NFL. The NFL has bent over backwards try to put a team back in Cleveland for what. They have wasted so many draft picks, it is not a case of not developing players because the draft picks leave the Browns and are never heard of again. They have no clue how to draft a 14 year rebuilding job spells failure. Some of the money they have spent on draft picks would have been better spent on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Come on give me a brake.
Edgerton Hartwell, Adalus Thomas, Lionel Dalton, Paul Krueger…the list goes on and on. All guys who earned big money as “system” players under the Ravens’ watch and then fizzled out into obscurity. A few years from now we’ll struggle to remember #99’s name.
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