Patience has remained the watchword for Ravens rookie safety Matt Elam during a quiet first season that has lacked the big plays and hard hits he'd hoped to immediately produce.
Elam has started 11 games, recording 47 tackles, but has no interceptions, two pass deflections and one fumble recovery.
As a first-round draft pick adjusting to the NFL and playing free safety after a consensus All-American junior year at strong safety during his final season at the University of Florida, Elam says he's continuing to make progress.
"Yeah, the game is slowing down," said Elam, who recorded 176 career tackles for the Gators with five sacks, 24 tackles for losses, two forced fumbles and six interceptions. "I'm playing a different position than I played in college, so I'm far away from the ball. It's just me improving and getting comfortable in the new spot I'm in. I just feel like the plays are coming.
"When they come, they're going to come in bundles. I feel I'm getting more familiar with route combinations so I can be a little faster. So, I feel like the plays are coming."
Elam became a starter one game into the season when veteran Michael Huff was benched after he was exposed in pass coverage against the Denver Broncos during a 49-27 season-opening loss.
Elam hasn't allowed many deep passes except for a 52-yard completion to Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley earlier this season, staying back and retreating well enough to cut off long gains.
Elam said that defensive coordinator Dean Pees and secondary coach Teryl Austin have remained upbeat with him as he continues to learn on the job.
"I'm getting good feedback," Elam said. "I'm playing a new position. They're being patient with me. They're trying to teach me the new position, so I know it for future reference in case I have to play it again.
"I'm getting good feedback from them, positive vibes, nothing negative. I just have to continue to get better and to do my job."
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