OWINGS MILLS - Baltimore Ravens defensive end Pernell McPhee said Wednesday that he fully expects outside linebacker Paul Kruger to have a breakout season for the Ravens' defense this year.
The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Kruger was a second round pick of Baltimore in the 2009 NFL draft.
Kruger saw only limited playing time during his first two seasons with the Ravens, but showed promise as a situational pass rusher last year.
He finished with 5.5 sacks.
With Terrell Suggs (Achilles) sidelined for at least half of this season, Kruger is stepping in as Baltimore's starter at "rush"
When asked if there's a player he sees poised for a breakthrough season with Suggs sidelined, McPhee responded, "Paul Kruger, no doubt."
"That guy has as much athleticism as any guy I know," McPhee said. "He's a great pass rusher and he's got a great get-off.
"I've seen him improve a lot," McPhee added. "I feel like he's got more moves, a better get-off and has gotten better technique wise."
ENCOURAGING SIGN FOR TIGHT ENDS: The Ravens didn't list tight ends Ed Dickson (shoulder) and Dennis Pitta (hand) on Thursday's injury report, an indication that both players should be available for Monday night's season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Dickson and Pitta both said on Wednesday that they expected to be game-time decisions Monday night.
INJURY REPORT: Outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw (shoulder) was a full participant in Thursday's practice. Sean Considine (concussion) was a limited participant. Reserve offensive lineman Jah Reid (calf) was the only player that didn't participate.
CINCY'S TOP PASS RUSHER IFFY FOR MONDAY: Bengals starting left defensive end Carlos Dunlap (knee) was one of three non-participants for Cincinnati Thursday, and his status for Monday night's opener appears to be very much up in the air.
Dunlap sprained his right knee during the Bengals' first preseason game Aug. 10, an injury Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said at the time would sideline Dunlap for at least four weeks.
The athletic 6-foot-6, 280-pound Dunlap is viewed as Cincinnati's top pass rusher. A second round pick in the 2010 NFL draft, he has 14 sacks in 24 games during the last two seasons.
Veteran Robert Geathers is listed as Dunlap's backup at left defensive end.
Geathers had just 2.5 sacks in 14 games last season.
Running back Bernard Scott (hand) and cornerback Jason Allen (quad) were also non-participants Thursday.
Bengals first round cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) will miss Monday's game. He fractured a bone in his knee during the early part of training camp and will miss the beginning part of the regular season.