When outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil reflected on his initial season with the Ravens, he wasn't inclined to pat himself on the back.
Dumervil said Tuesday that he was generally dissatisfied with how he played along with the performance of the entire defense last year as the Ravens failed to make the playoffs.
Signed last year by the Ravens to a five-year contract worth up to $35 million that included $11 million guaranteed, Dumervil generated 9.5 sacks. However, the three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher recorded just one sack during the final seven games as he dealt with a lingering ankle injury.
"Not good enough," Dumervil said following the Ravens' minicamp practice Tuesday. "We definitely have room for improvement. We can get better in all phases. We did a lot of good things last year, but we just didn't do it good enough to win games and get to the playoffs and have a chance to get to the championship."
Dumervil split the strong-side outside linebacker job with Courtney Upshaw. Upshaw operated as a run-stopping presence primarily on first and second downs. After leaving the Denver Broncos following a blown deadline involving a fax machine that caused the AFC West franchise to cut him due to salary-cap reasons, Dumervil saw most of his action as a pass rusher during his first season with the Ravens.
The 5-foot-11, 260-pounder has unusually long arms for a short outside linebacker and gains leverage routinely with a strong hand punch, or uses a spin move to escape blockers. He has 73 career sacks in eight NFL seasons, including an NFL-high 17 sacks in 2009.
Last year, though, Dumervil had five of his sacks in two games with two sacks in an October loss to the Green Bay Packers and three sacks in a win over the Cincinnati Bengals in November. Following that Nov. 10 game against the Bengals, Dumervil's only other sack of the season was against the New York Jets on Nov. 24 at M&T Bank Stadium.
"I just want to get better in all phases, run, pass, rushing, coverage and just bring more production to the field," said Dumervil, who had 31 tackles, three pass deflections and two forced fumbles last season.
Toward his goal of upgrading his play this year, Dumervil has bulked up by roughly 10 pounds since the end of last season. Dumervil was clearly heavier Tuesday, especially in his upper body. It remains to be seen if the extra pounds will translate into greater production next season.
"I gained a few pounds," Dumervil said. "It's a different division from the [AFC] West, so I'm prepared for this year, for sure."
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun