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Ravens rookie tackle James Hurst: 'I let the team down' against Colts

James Hurst
(Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

It was far from the road debut Ravens undrafted rookie offensive tackle James Hurst envisioned last Sunday.

Playing in his hometown against the Indianapolis Colts, Hurst allowed three sacks. Speedy outside linebacker Bjoern Werner ran past him for two of them and the other came on a safety blitz by Sergio Brown that snuffed out the Ravens' fourth-and-1 opportunity at the Colts' 3-yard line.

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Commenting for the first time since the disappointing game, Hurst vowed to learn from the rough outing and improve.

"It was tough," Hurst said. "I didn't play very well. I let the team down in that aspect. It's something you can learn from. It was my first road game. Now that I've got that under my belt, I can be confident and know what that atmosphere is all about and take that into our road game this week. I'm more confident and comfortable in my technique to do my job."

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The Ravens didn't provide Hurst with chip-blocking assistance against the Colts, who run a 3-4 scheme. Hurst held his own in his starting debut against the Carolina Panthers, allowing no sacks.

"James is a good, young player, he's doing a good job," offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said. "We have to continue to protect our quarterback. For a young player, he's doing a good job. Do you have to help guys sometimes? Yes, I think you have to help all of them.

"One way you can help them is running the ball. The kid has held up well, he's growing. To be a rookie free agent playing on the left side in this league, probably not many of them. He's done a pretty good job."

On Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 4-3 scheme, Hurst is sure to be tested again by right defensive end Michael Johnson. Johnson is a long-armed, athletic pass rusher at 6-feet-7, 270 pounds who has two sacks and a forced fumble this season. The former Cincinnati Bengals starter has 28.5 career sacks, 25 pass deflections and four forced fumbles.

Veteran left tackle Eugene Monroe, for whom Hurst is playing, could be out for a few more weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery prior to the Carolina Panthers game. Monroe's recovery is expected to take four to six weeks, according to a source.

"For me, it's a lot of responsibility," Hurst said. "The other guys in here are working so hard. Nobody wants to be the guy who gives up a sack or drops a ball or anything like that. I just got to watch film and improve and play as hard as I can. If I play as hard as I can, I know that I did everything I could."

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