Terrence Cody isn't a highlight machine or a stats maniac, but the nose tackle has been a factor in the defense's performance this season.
Sandwiched by two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and defensive Cory Redding, Cody has stabilized the Ravens' three-man front in their 3-4 defensive alignment. And despite the lack of statistics, Cody's play has not escaped the attention of his coaches.
"Is he becoming dominant in there? He dominates in there quite a bit," coach John Harbaugh said during his weekly briefing on Monday. "He is big, he is athletic, he is moving so well, he stays square, he doesn't get cut off, he doesn't get reached and he makes plays. I know you put him in there with Haloti, and I think our linebackers appreciate having those two guys in the middle."
Cody, the organization's latter of two second-round picks in 2010, enjoyed his best game of the season when he posted a season-best three tackles (one for a loss) in Sunday night's 34-17 win against the New York Jets.
Cody reportedly lost 65 pounds to get down to his listed playing weight of 349 pounds. Perhaps nearly as significantly, Cody hasn't made many people wish for the return of Kelly Gregg, a beloved veteran who was released in the offseason. (Gregg now plays for the Kansas City Chiefs.)
Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson – who, like Cody, played at the University of Alabama – said Cody has capably carried out his duties within the Ravens' schemes.
"Last year, Terrence was the epitome of a rookie. He talked about Alabama all the time," Johnson said, drawing laughter from reporters. "He was a rookie, you know? This year, man, he has worked so hard. He looks great. I think he's playing at a weight that's perfect for what he does. He's moving around, [and] he understands the scheme of how to play run defense. Everybody thinks you just take a big strong guy and stick him at nose tackle and he's going to be good. That's just not true. You've got to know how to play leverage. You've got to see the backfield and how to lean which way to anticipate the block. He's learning all that stuff, and he is light years better than he was last year."