Josh Bynes has come a long way.
During training camp last year, Bynes was sidelined with three fractured bones in his lower back after getting hurt a few practices after reporting.
Now, Bynes is atop the Ravens' depth chart at weak-side linebacker, opposite starting middle linebacker Daryl Smith, with Jameel McClain on the physically unable to perform list due to a spinal cord contusion suffered last December against the Washington Redskins.
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Midway through the preseason, Bynes ranks third on the Ravens with eight tackles and has, so far, met the challenge of second-round draft pick Arthur Brown in his bid to win a starting job on the reigning Super Bowl champions.
"Josh Bynes has done very well," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Josh is our starting Will linebacker at this point, and he’s earned it. He’s practiced really well, he’s physical. He understands our defense, inside and out. He’s done a heck of a job.”
Bynes had a career-high 31 tackles last season in 10 games (three starts) and made the final tackle of the season, bringing down San Francisco 49ers return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. on the last play of Super Bowl XLVII.
Bynes is noticeably bigger, following a strict weightlifting regimen to get up to 245 pounds.
"I feel like I'm in really good condition," Bynes said recently. "I'm just a little bit bigger and I put on some good weight. I made sure I'm in good shape. I'm doing all I can.
"I've been here the whole time working to get better each and every day. I've never been a guy who gets satisfied. I stay humble and hungry."