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Additions to defensive line 'absolutely' give Ravens more options in usage of Ngata

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh acknowledged earlier in the week that the addition of defensive linemen Chris Canty and Marcus Spears will give the Ravens more flexibility in how they utilize Pro Bowl defensive lineman Haloti Ngata.

Nose tackle, a problem area for Baltimore last season, was one particular spot Harbaugh acknowledged that Ngata could see more time at this season.

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"We've played [Ngata] everywhere pretty much, and it's been more based on what we've needed to do based on the offensive line that we're going against or our situation personnel-wise," Harbaugh said Tuesday at the NFL's annual league meetings in Phoenix. "But the fact that we've added two guys that can play defensive end definitely marks the possibility he could play inside more."

Nose tackles Terrence Cody and Ma'ake Kemoeatu graded out as the Ravens' worst two defensive linemen last season, according to Pro Football Focus, and, at Baltimore's "State of the Ravens" news conference in early February, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said that improving the middle of the defense, in particular the defensive tackle position, would be a top priority for Baltimore this offseason.

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The Ravens ranked 23rd out of the NFL's 32 teams in run defense last season, one year after ranking second-best in the NFL in the same category.

Cody will be back, but he's coming off a season during which he lost his starting job to a 34-year-old Kemoeatu who had previously been out of football since 2010. And just a season after starting all 18 games for Baltimore, including two playoff games, Cody started only three games last season and was on the field for barely more than 25 percent of the Ravens' defensive snaps during the postseason.

Kemoeatu is an unrestricted free agent and isn't expected to be retained.

Ngata, meanwhile, was limited by injuries to his knee and shoulder last year but still had 51 tackles and five sacks in the 14 games he played in during the regular season. He added 13 tackles in the playoffs.

Ngata played primarily defensive tackle last year, but Harbaugh acknowledged that, with the addition of Canty and Spears, the Ravens have the capability move Ngata around even more than this season they have in the past.

"Absolutely," Harbaugh said. "Our bell cow in there is Haloti. He's our best player inside, probably the best player in the in the National Football League. I know Haloti is really, really motivated to have a great year. ... Adding those guys and putting the pieces around him is a huge part of what we're doing."

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