In his first and last season as a full-time starter with the Ravens, nose tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu made a career-best 70 tackles (including 44 solo), one sack and one fumble recovery in 2005.
Since then, Kemoeatu (pronounced mah-AH-kay key-moy-AH-too) has played for the Carolina Panthers and the Washington Redskins, but has never been able to replicate those numbers as he has battled ineffectiveness and injuries.
In his first preseason with the organization that signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2002, the 6-foot-5, 345-pound Kemoeatu has evoked memories of the “Kemo” of old.
“I do feel like that way because the last time I was at this weight is the last time I was here in 2005,” he said after Tuesday’s practice at the team’s training complex in Owings Mills. “I was more athletic and everything, but I do feel like this is the old me that was here before I left. And I feel great. I think the thing for me now is the experience. The young ‘Kemo’ didn’t have the experience. So now I have the experience, and I know how to play within the defense and within the scheme of the defense. I think that will really work to my advantage. Even though I’m not as young, I’ve gained as part of this experience and that helps me on the field.”
Kemoeatu, who has made five tackles in the preseason, has started at nose tackle in the Ravens’ first three preseason games. Kemoeatu has vaulted over Terrence Cody on the team’s depth chart, but Kemoeatu said he’s not trying to concern himself over who will get the nod in the regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10.
“Right now, I’m just trying to stay positive and see what I can do to help the team,” he said. “If that’s what they want me to do, then I’ll play. If they want me to play a backup role, then I’ll play a backup role. And if they want me to rotate in, then I’ll do it – however they do the rotation. So far, it’s been a good camp.”