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Ravens preparing to square off with Browns pass rusher, ex-teammate Paul Kruger

Paul Kruger celebrates his sack with Billy Winn and Jabaal Sheard of the Cleveland Browns.
Paul Kruger celebrates his sack with Billy Winn and Jabaal Sheard of the Cleveland Browns.(Jason Miller / Getty Images)

Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Paul Kruger has displayed power and speed this seaosn, bull-rushing and running around offensive tackles.

Kruger constantly harassed New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees during a win last week, sacking him once, hitting him three times and deflecting one pass.

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He signed a five-year, $40.5 million contract that included $20 million guaranteed last year, leaving the Ravens via free agency. Kruger leads the Browns with two sacks.

Now, Kruger is about to face his old team on Sunday following a relatively quiet first season in Cleveland, in which he recorded 4.5 sacks.

The athletic 6-foot-4, 270-pound linebacker appears to have made some adjustments to his game this season.

"He's changed his game up a little bit even from last year, and it's been effective for him," left offensive tackle Eugene Monroe said of Kruger, who had nine sacks in his final season with the Ravens when they won the Super Bowl. "Being able to use a bit more power in the way he rushes, that's definitely something that we're looking into as we prepare for him.

"There's really nothing to be shared. Everything that a guy is shows up on film. No matter what tips you can hear from someone, a guy is only is what he is on film. I've done my part to continue to study him as I get ready for the game."

Browns head coach Mike Pettine's defensive scheme uses Kruger similarly to the way the Ravens' 3-4 defense did. With the Browns this season, Kruger has lined up at both rush outside linebacker and strongside or SAM outside linebacker.

"They're running the defense that he grew up in," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He's playing two positions. He's playing both sides. He knows what he's doing. Tremendous motor, he's really playing in all three phases. He's playing the run. He's rushing the passer and he's dropping into coverage. He's really doing a great job."

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