www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bal-matt-elam-didnt-do-much-to-earn-his-first-unnecessary-roughness-penalty-20130824,0,4240277.story

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Matt Elam didn't do much to earn his first unnecessary roughness penalty

Rookie safety has hard-hitting reputation, vying for starting job against veteran James Ihedigbo

By Aaron Wilson

The Baltimore Sun

1:53 PM EDT, August 24, 2013

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Ravens rookie safety Matt Elam entered the NFL with a hard-hitting reputation.

However, the first-round draft pick didn't do much to earn his first penalty for unnecessary roughness in Thursday night's 34-27 preseason loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Elam delivered a glancing shoulder blow to Panthers tight end Greg Olsen on an incomplete pass, pulling up to avoid striking him full-force. The late contact did clearly annoy Olsen, who swatted at Elam's back, and the infraction occurred directly in front of a side judge, who immediately threw the yellow flag.

"Yeah, I would at least put more aggression into it if I'm going to get a flag," Elam said. "I was just playing. I wasn't thinking about nothing. It wasn't really nothing. I was running down and touched him. It wasn't no big deal."

Elam had two tackles, one for a loss against Carolina as he continues to compete with veteran James Ihedigbo for the starting strong safety job. Elam has 10 tackles in three preseason games, including a few tackles for losses.

"I'm feeling really confident, getting a little more comfortable out there," said Elam, a former consensus All-American from Florida who was drafted 32nd overall. "The more reps I take the more comfortable I get. I got a lot of confidence. Every game, I feel better.

"I'm going to go out there every day and work hard and put it in God's hands. Whatever happens happens. I feel like I'm steady learning, steady improving. I'll do whatever I can to help the team win."

awilson@baltsun.com
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