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After disappointing rookie season, Ravens defensive end Chris Wormley seeking bigger role in 2018

There were times when Chris Wormley’s rookie season seemed like a blur. But there was one memory that has remained with the second-year Ravens defensive end.

“I think I can remember getting my [butt] kicked most days in camp and the feeling of not dressing for the first couple of games and then dressing and playing a little bit and then not playing,” he said after Monday morning’s practice at the team’s headquarters in Owings Mills. “Just the roller coaster of that rookie year, I remember that. So you take that into consideration when it comes to how you want to play and how you want to move forward in your second year.”

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Wormley made five tackles in seven games, including two starts, but was a healthy scratch for the remaining nine games, including the first four. That is not the kind of production one would expect from the first of two third-round selections in the 2017 NFL draft, which has spurred him to take aim at proving himself to defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale and defensive line coach Joe Cullen.

“First and foremost, I want to dress every game and get more snaps and be productive and be a guy that Wink and Cullen can trust,” Wormley said, adding that his personal goals include totaling at least 25 tackles and his first career sack. “I just want to make a contribution to the team so that we can make it to the playoffs this year.”

For the second consecutive year, Wormley is listed as nose tackle Michael Pierce’s top backup on the team’s first depth chart. And Martindale said last week that Wormley is making progress.

“Chris Wormley has really come on the last three days,” Martindale said. “In my opinion, he wasn’t practicing as well as I thought he could, and the last three days, he’s starting to practice like I expected him to.”

As disappointing as his rookie campaign was, Wormley said he is grateful for the experience because it set a foundation for the upcoming season.

“You just feel more comfortable, especially since you know what’s going to happen,” he said. “You know what’s coming. You know what the coaches expect of you a little more. I guess you become more of a pro.”

Notes: Speaking of Wormley, he and undrafted rookie running back Mark Thompson took part in the first fight of camp. Wormley took exception to a late block by Thompson and charged after him. Although Thompson’s helmet came off during the melee, no punches were thrown and cooler heads prevailed. “I was trying to be a good D-lineman and run to the ball and get my pursuit like Wink and Coach Cullen want me to get, and he just gave me a couple extra shoves after the play,” Wormley said. “That’s something that as a man, you have to stand up for yourself. It wasn’t like I was looking to throw a punch or anything like that. I just wanted to let him know that A, you’re a rookie, and B, don’t do that to me again.” Said Thompson: “It’s an emotional game. Everyone’s trying to put forth their best effort. So things get a little emotional sometimes, and it’s a fast game, and if you’re not playing with emotion, then why are you out here?” … Martindale said the intensity level has ramped up in the past two practices in an effort to prepare the younger defensive players for the task of live tackling on Thursday night when the Ravens take on the Chicago Bears in the Hall of Fame Game. “Usually, this first game is where you see the most missed tackles,” he said. “So we’re really making an emphasis on that, and it is getting more physical. I think that’s good for us.” … Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg confirmed what the depth chart had listed: Tim White will take the opening kick and punt returns against Chicago. “Tim is going to get the first shot,” the associate head coach said. “He’s earned that. So when we line up in Canton, Ohio, at 8 o’clock on Thursday night, [No.] 14 [White’s jersey number] is going to trot out there.”

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