Ravens coach John Harbaugh chats with his brother 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh before the teams played their preseason opener on Thursday. (Rob Carr, Getty Images /August 7, 2014)
Secondary coach Teryl Austin said that the team will “probably” know after Thursday’s preseason game against the Panthers whether rookie first-round pick Matt Elam or veteran James Ihedigbo will start at safety opposite veteran Michael Huff.
“It’s a heck of a battle for the starting safety spots between those three guys and, as always, we'll put the best people on the field, the people we feel give us the best chance to win,” he said. “And when we make that determination — probably after this weekend — we'll know who our starters are.”
To this point, Ihedigbo, who started three games for the Ravens last year and 12 the previous season with the New England Patriots, has been able to hold off the rookie and start the first two preseason games. However, Austin said that he’s been impressed by Elam’s athleticism and attitude.
“Obviously, you watch him fly around. He is fast. He closes on the ball carrier, on receivers. He’s a contact player,” Austin said. “You see that right away he brings a Raven attitude to our defense and we love that. I think the biggest [challenge] for him as a young player is understanding all of the nuances of our defense in a short period of time.”
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