'We're not gonna overreact, but we are gonna react'
When he played for the Ravens, linebacker Paul Kruger never had the chance to sack Joe Flacco.
That will change Sunday, when Kruger and the Browns visit M & T Bank Stadium in the Ravens’ home opener. Flacco won’t be wearing his red “don’t touch” practice jersey that Kruger saw so frequently. He would love to make his presence felt against Flacco, early and often.
“He’s a big guy,” Kruger said Wednesday during a conference call. “I’ve got to hit him hard to take him down. He’s a big target. He’s got that speed that people don’t see very often. It’s one of those things (where) he’s so tall and rangy…I would compare him a little bit to (Colts quarterback) Andrew Luck. Both really fast guys. You don’t assume their speed, but you’ve got to be careful for that.”
Kruger was one of the Ravens’ many departures during free agency, and played a key role in helping them win the Super Bowl. He had a career –high nine sacks during the regular season, and added 4 ½ more during the playoffs. It will be a strange experience for Kruger, when the Super Bowl XLVII championship banner is unveiled Sunday, and Kruger is standing on the visiting team’s sideline. However, Kruger looks back on his time in Baltimore fondly.
“So many good memories there,” Kruger said. “But my mindset will be pretty focused on what’s going on. "This is a year where we can come out and re-identify ourselves. I don’t really look at the past. So many people talk about what the Browns have done in the past, (but) to me, it’s irrelevant. This is a new team. I feel really good about our defense and our team. Right now, I’m just looking forward.”
Flacco is looking forward to seeing Kruger, before and after the game. However, Flacco would rather not see Kruger in the Ravens’ backfield.
“Hopefully, he doesn’t get to me, and if he does, hopefully I can shake him off and talk a little trash to him afterwards,” Flacco said. “It will be a little interesting lining up against him and seeing what he’s got.”