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Baltimore Ravens

Dumervil likely to play, but Ravens can take their time with him

Ravens outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil is expected to play for the first time Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, but the good news is that the Ravens don't have to press him into action.

It's only four games into the season, but the Ravens (3-0) aren't in a "must win" situation like Cincinnati was Thursday night against Miami.

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The young guys who have replaced Dumervil, who was out after rehabbing a foot injury, have played well and the Ravens have the No. 2 ranked defense in the league. I assume the Ravens will use Dumervil in certain situations for Za'Darius Smith and Albert McClellan.

Another big plus for the Ravens is that they don't have to use Dumervil in the base defense like they did a year ago once fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs went down with a foot injury in the first game and missed the remainder of the season. For most of 2015, Dumervil had to set the edge against the run and his body wasn't used to that type of pounding. Dumervil is basically an outside linebacker used in passing situations, not full-time.

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Against the Raiders, he will return to his familiar role except that the Ravens don't need him to play half of the team's defensive snaps. They can take their time and bring him along just like they did Suggs in the first three games.

If the game is tight in the fourth period, the Ravens might press him to play a little more. But right now, they have the luxury of taking their time. Like Suggs, Dumervil provides a lot of leadership on the field on Sunday afternoons. The Ravens have a young defense, but three good veteran leaders in Suggs, Dumervil and safety Eric Weddle.


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