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ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary

With one sack in six games, Kruger admits he needs to get better


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Paul Kruger had 9.0 sacks for the Ravens last year in the regular season, then followed that up with 4.5 sacks in the postseason, and parlayed his big year rushing the passer into a five-year, $40 million contract with the Browns.

This year, Kruger hasn’t had the same level of production: Kruger had a sack in Week One against the Dolphins, but he’s been held without a sack since then. One sack in six games is not what the Browns were expecting, and Kruger acknowledged that after a rough game against the Lions on Sunday, he needs to improve.

“Up front we needed to get to [Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford] a little more. That’s something that I’m going to be focusing on big time. I’ve got to get to the passer,” Kruger told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Sack totals don’t tell the whole story, and Kruger has been able to bring pressure at times, even if he hasn’t been able to bring the quarterback down. But Kruger hasn’t been the same kind of player in Cleveland this year that he was in Baltimore last year. And for what the Browns are paying him, last year’s Raven is the player Cleveland needs.



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What you've never heard this season is how much the Ravens miss pass rusher Paul Kruger. The reason: The Ravens are getting a tremendous season out of Elvis Dumervil, who's played a big part in the Ravens ranking second in the NFL in sacks this season.


Dumervil had his best game as a Raven last Sunday, when he recorded two sacks and forced two fumbles. The previous week, his fourth-quarter sack in Miami backed up the Dolphins to the Baltimore 39-yard line, where they missed the game-tying, 57-yard field goal.


"He's a heck of a player," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "The guy has got extraordinary balance, power, and for not a real tall guy, long arms and knows how to use them. I think he plays with great leverage, has got good speed. He's as advertised."


Through six games, Dumervil is second on the Ravens with five sacks and is tied with Terrell Suggs with 13 quarterback hurries. Kruger, meanwhile, hasn't had a sack in his past five games after recording one in the season opener.


Dumervil has been a much better value, too. Kruger, who led the Ravens with nine sacks last season and added two more in the Super Bowl, left the defending champions when he signed a five-year, $40.5 million contract with the Browns which included $20 million guaranteed. Compare that to the five-year, $26 million contract signed by Dumervil that contains $8.5 million guaranteed.



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