Rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk is learning that a Ravens practice is much different than a Harvard practice.
“Every defender brings it,” Juszczyk said Wednesday. “There’s no weak guys. There’s no scout team college guys out there. You really can’t relax when you’re in there. It’s the definition of playing to the whistle."
A fourth-round pick from Harvard, Juszczyk has often been forced to block either Terrell Suggs or Elvis Dumervil. How’s that going?
“Man, they’re good,” Juszczyk. “They’re really good. It teaches you that you have to have perfect technique when you’re going against those guys.”
What does the return of veteran fullback Vonta Leach mean for Juszczyk? He hopes to carve his niche as both a blocker and a reliable receiver out of the backfield. At Harvard, Juszczyk led the Ivy League with eight touchdown catches last season, and he had 52 receptions for 706 yards. Juszczyk has shown enough versatility to be a hybrid fullback-tight end, providing a possible target for Joe Flacco on short and intermediate passes.
Of course, Juszczyk must first earn playing time.
“I have high expectations for myself,” Juszczyk said. “I expect to be out there on Sundays helping this team. “Vonta coming back is good for this team. He’s a great player. He’s a great blocker. He’s going to help this running game a lot. For myself, that’s somebody I can learn from. As far as having two fullbacks, we’re two different players. We can find roles for both of us.”
Leach knows his role. Juszczyk is hoping to earn one.