Ravens coach John Harbaugh is learning a little more about rookie outside linebacker Matthew Judon every day, and he thinks it's about time the fifth-round pick gets a bigger test.
"What I would like to do next week is put him against starting offensive tackles and see how he does," Harbaugh said after the Ravens' 19-18 victory over the Indianapolis Colts Saturday.
Through two preseason games, Judon, who had a nation-leading 21 sacks last year for Grand Valley State, has thrived while working mostly against second and third-team offensive linemen. He had a team-high seven tackles and a sack in the preseason-opening victory against the Carolina Panthers. He followed that with a two-tackle, one-sack effort against the Colts.
Judon also foiled a Colts two-point conversion attempt in the third quarter by taking down quarterback Scott Tolzien.
"He's playing pretty good in practice. He's playing really good in games," Harbaugh said of Judon.
There were some questions heading into the draft about how Judon would fare against stiffer competition in the NFL after playing at Division II Grand Valley State, for which he had 35 sacks in four seasons.
Judon has been relatively quiet in training camp practice, but he's made himself noticeable with his production and effort in games.
"I'm not too surprised about a lot of things because our coaches do a great job of preparing us," Judon said. "I knew what I could do coming out of college. I want to play in this league for a long time. I'm just going to continue go out there and when my number is called, I'm just going to continue to produce."
Honoring Tray Walker: After he reached the end zone following his game-winning interception return of a two-point conversion attempt, Ravens inside linebacker Anthony Levine Sr. put his right hand in the air and flashed two fingers, and then five.
It was Levine's way of honoring former Ravens cornerback Tray Walker, who died in March from injuries sustained in a motorbike accident. Walker wore No. 25 in his rookie season for the Ravens.
"Every time I go out there I think about Tray," Levine said. "Great guy. One of my good friends on the team ever since I met him last year. Every time I go out there and make a play, I'm doing it for the man above, and Tray, and my family. "
Wright thinking too much: The Colts completed passes just in front of Ravens cornerback Shareece Wright twice Saturday. Both times Wright knew exactly what was coming, but didn't react quickly enough. That left him second-guessing himself following the game.
"I'm just trying to stay on top and not give up a big play, and not just trusting my instincts on those plays," Wright said. "There were two situations where I thought it was coming. I just didn't believe it. If you don't do that, you're always going to be a step late."
Wright remains the likely starter at cornerback alongside his best friend and former high school teammate, Jimmy Smith. However, Wright is still trying to find his form in what has been an uneven training camp so far.
The same can be said about the rest of the Ravens' new-look secondary.
"It's not about the offense. It's more about us," Wright said. "It's more about what we're doing, what we're trying to get accomplished as a defense, and that's just playing great technique, doing our assignments, being on the same page as a defense. That's the main thing, playing good technique, not having miscues on the defensive side. When we start game planning, we can set up those plays and make those interceptions."
End zone: Harbaugh continues to like what he sees from young wide receiver Jeremy Butler, who caught four passes for 35 yards against the Colts, including a 12-yard touchdown pass from Josh Johnson. "He's done it in practice and he's done it in games," Harbaugh said. "Jeremy Butler, every time you throw it to him, he makes a catch. Every time he runs down on a run play, he makes a block. That's not been one day. That's been day after day. That's what you're looking for."
The Ravens appeared to lose only two players to injuries in Saturday's victory: tight end Darren Waller cleared the concussion protocol but was diagnosed with a sprained jaw; rookie cornerback Maurice Canady aggravated a left hamstring injury and did not return. Running back Terrance West (Northwestern High, Towson) dislocated his finger, but returned to the game.
Rookie first-round left tackle Ronnie Stanley said it was "unique" to play alongside fellow rookie draft pick Alex Lewis, who started at left guard in place of the injured John Urschel. Stanley and Lewis played the entire first half. "I think I fared well, I think Alex did as well, but we have to look at the film and see where we both stand," Stanley said.