By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
1:49 PM EDT, August 16, 2013
Ravens rookie strong-side linebacker John Simon had Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Alec Savoie on the ropes once he got him to turn his body outside with a quick speed rush.
Then, Simon finished Savoie off with a counter move rarely seen by the fourth-round draft pick from Ohio State since the start of training camp.
With an inside spin move, Simon lost Savoie and barreled into the backfield to sack Falcons quarterback Sean Renfree in the fourth quarter to drop him for a 6-yard loss during the Ravens' 27-23 preseason victory Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.
"Kind of just an instinctual thing," Simon said. "He beat me on the speed, so I tried to counter inside. Fortunately for myself and the Ravens, the quarterback was still in the pocket."
Simon finished with three tackles and the Ravens' lone sack, his top performance since being drafted by the Ravens and signed to a $2.545 million four-year contract that includes a $385,652 signing bonus.
Simon was limited to one tackle in the Ravens' preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but looked more comfortable against Atlanta in his first home game.
"Yeah, absolutely," Simon said. "It's just getting a feel for how things are and getting a feel for the playbook and we wanted to come back for the veterans as best we could, and we were able to do that. The way it ended was awesome, and it feels great to get the win.
"It's about getting a feel for the playbook and calming your mind down and slowing the game down. I definitely still have a lot of work to do, but it was an improvement."
The 2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Simon had 44 tackles, nine sacks and 14.5 tackles for losses last season. In four seasons, Simon finished with 154 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 43 tackles for loss and 10 pass deflections.
Simon is competing for a situational pass rusher role with Adrian Hamilton and Pernell McPhee.
"Yeah, we got a lot of great rushers on the team," Simon said. "I'm trying to contribute any way I can and make improvements."