The sixth of 10 siblings in a blended family, Ravens outside linebacker Matthew Judon said Saturday that he is used to competition and loves to prove people wrong. Judon has carried a chip on his shoulder pad — maybe both of them — ever since being bypassed by most Division I schools.
One of the key figures behind Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston's blockbuster $101 million six-year contract is former Morgan State strong safety and Deer Park Middle school coach and teacher Greg Barnett.
As the Ravens (9-6) square off with the Cleveland Browns (7-8) in a regular-season finale Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, here's Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson¿s checklist of things to keep an eye on:
Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is growing accustomed, though, to Jeremy Hill's end zone antics. That includes an unsuccessful attempt to jump into the stands during last Sunday's rout in Cleveland, where he was pushed aside by a Browns fan.
Houston Texans linebacker J.J. Watt has emerged as one of the decade's most dominant NFL defensive players. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year two years ago when he recorded a career-high 20.5 sacks. He's regarded as the frontrunner to win it again this year with 16.5 sacks and five touchdowns, including three touchdown catches as a red-zone tight end along with an interception return for a touchdown and a fumble return for a score.
Although Dumervil isn¿t a full-time defensive player like Houston and Watt because he splits snaps at strong-side outside linebacker with Courtney Upshaw, he says he deserves consideration for NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors
It has been fun watching Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil chase after quarterbacks together. And after Suggs got off to a fast start, Dumervil closed the gap in that sack race with three sacks on Sunday.
For Baltimore to move the ball through the air against a top-ranked Dallas pass defense, Ravens wide receivers must shake free of physical Cowboys cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, who excel at bumping receivers out of their routes at the line of scrimmage.
Outside linebacker Tamba Hali is regarded as the headliner of the Kansas City Chiefs' defense. However, he's far from the only Chiefs linebacker the Ravens have to concern themselves with Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
On Sunday, it appeared the Chiefs¿ offensive strategy was to shoot themselves in the foot. They turned the ball over six times, including four times in the first half. Despite falling behind early, they were relatively balanced, giving the ball to speedy running back Jamaal Charles and throwing the ball all over the field, often times to physical wideout Dwayne Bowe.