Ravens veteran Chris Canty in search of clues to bounce back to old form

Veteran defensive lineman Chris Canty has studied the tape of last season for months, searching for clues to determine why his first year with the Ravens wasn't more productive.

Canty has reached a few conclusions through his self-scouting, seeing chances squandered to hit the quarterback and a need to become more durable.

Canty finished with just 30 tackles, two sacks, four pass deflections and two forced fumbles last season. However, none of the sacks or forced fumbles were made during the final dozen games. Canty dealt with a lingering groin injury and wasn't nearly as disruptive as he was at the start of the season.

"There's some areas I can definitely improve on, especially in the passing game, where there were a lot more opportunities to get after the quarterback and I didn't always take advantage of them," Canty said in an interview before the Ravens' organized team activity that started Wednesday and runs through Friday. "Now that I'm playing a little more on the edge, I understand that role. I know what I'm doing.

"I want to see how I can better improve and take advantage of opportunities because I'm capable of doing a lot more. I've spent a lot of my offseason on film study, and I've picked up a lot of little nuances of the game. It's encouraging to see what's possible for me and the whole defense."

The Ravens signed Canty to a three-year, $8 million contract last year that included $2.8 million in guaranteed money after three seasons with the New York Giants. He's due a $2 million base salary for this year, and the team picked up his $500,000 roster bonus in March, which effectively ensured his roster status.

However, Canty rarely flashed the dominant form he displayed during the preseason and offseason last year during a relatively quiet first season in Baltimore. He attributes the lack of big plays to minor injuries he dealt with last season and has devoted his offseason to building his strength and stamina.

"I'm getting my body in better physical shape than I was last year at this time," Canty said. "I want to continue to build on what I have. I don't want to have the same nicks and bruises that slowed me down during the latter portion of the season. When you get older, you've got to work harder to keep what you've got and continue to improve as a player.

"I had to change up my training regimen. I'm trying to cut down on the injuries because of the toll they took on my game. To be a more efficient player, you have to be in top physical condition. I'm emphasizing doing a lot more cardio stuff to try to improve my recovery time."

Listed at 6 feet 7, 317 pounds, Canty said he's aiming to play at roughly 305 pounds this season and is nearly at that weight now.

"I'm kind of in that range," Canty said. "I don't want to be heavier or lighter than that. It's a big-boy league. I want to make sure I'm able to do what I have to do. You never want to be too light and get pushed around. You want to be dictate everything as a defensive lineman and make them react to what you're doing."

After previous stints with the Giants and Dallas Cowboys, Canty became an instant starter on a rebuilt Ravens defense that finished 12th in the NFL in total defense during the first season without middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who retired, and free safety Ed Reed, who signed with the Houston Texans.

"I thought we were solid; we were decent," Canty said. "We weren't great by any stretch. We have a chance to be great this year, but we've got a lot of work to do to get to that point. We need to prove what we're capable of on the field."

Since last season, the Ravens have lost defensive lineman Arthur Jones (Indianapolis Colts), strong safety James Ihedigbo (Detroit Lions) and cornerback Corey Graham (Buffalo Bills) in free agency. They've re-signed middle linebacker Daryl Smith and used their first three draft picks on defensive players to acquire first-round inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, second-round defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and third-round safety Terrence Brooks.

"It's always tough to see guys go, but you understand that it's a salary-cap era and I'm very high on the additions that we've made," Canty said. "I'm excited about our football team and getting back to what the Ravens are accustomed to, and that's being a physically dominant team."

NOTE: The Ravens have $4.385 million in available salary-cap space now that Mosley's fully-guaranteed $8.787 million contract has been processed. Mosley has a first-year salary-cap figure of $1.597 million.



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