When the Ravens signed veteran linebacker Austin Spitler following a successful minicamp tryout in June, he knew he had joined a relatively deep group of inside linebackers.
The Ravens returned a proven middle linebacker in Daryl Smith and drafted C.J. Mosley in the first round as their starters. They also have former second-round pick Arthur Brown and former starter Josh Bynes as backups.
Running third on the depth chart behind Bynes at middle linebacker, Spitler is hoping to beat the odds and earn a roster spot through his play on special teams.
"I just want to be a guy who can help the team in many ways," said Spitler, a 2010 Dolphins seventh-round draft pick. "I strive to be a great player on special teams. I'm always trying to give everything I can and make some plays and also be a smart guy with the scheme and be able to play multiple positions."
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound former Ohio State standout tied for third on the Dolphins last season with eight special-teams tackles. For his career, he has 28 special-teams tackles and one fumble recovery in 55 career games in four seasons with the Dolphins.
"It's going good so far here," said Spitler, who had 82 tackles, two sacks and one interception in college for the Buckeyes where he was an All-Academic Big Ten Conference selection. "It's just a different verbiage. It's all the same throughout the league as far as what's run. It's just how they talk about it and how they go about it. I've just got to keep working, figureing the scheme out and perform in the preseason games."
Spitler played 14 snaps on defense and five on special teams during a 37-30 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night. He recorded one tackle and has two tackles overall through two preseason games.
"A lot of things are new to me, but the guys and the coaches really embrace you here and help make your transition easier," Spitler said. "They've got a good atmosphere here. It's going well."