Ravens' additions could keep Ngata at nose

Ravens' additions could keep Ngata at nose
March 23, 2013, 11:30 am
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At this point of the off-season, there aren’t many positions where you can use the word “additions” in reference to the Ravens. But defensive line is that one spot.

The additions — see, there’s that word — of Chris Canty and Marcus Spears are expected to have an impact not just for what they can bring to the line, but also for what they mean for Haloti Ngata.

“We’ve played [Ngata] everywhere pretty much, and it’s been more based on what we’ve needed to do based on the offensive line that we’re going against or our situation personnel-wise,” coach John Harbaugh said this week, as reported in The Carroll County Times. “But the fact that we’ve added two guys that can play defensive end definitely marks the possibility he could play inside more.”

Ngata regularly on the nose would go a long way toward resolving the Ravens’ problems stopping opponents’ inside running game, an issue last season. It’s an acknowledgment that Terrence Cody, expected to do great things when he was drafted out of Alabama in the second round in 2010, has fallen way short of expectations. Some folks — well, OK, me at least — thought 2012 would be the year that Cody broke out as an interior force in the NFL. But he couldn’t even hold on to his position against a 34-year-old journeyman, Ma’ake Kemoeatu.

So now Ngata — presuming he can have a healthy season, unlike 2012 — will be set to wreak havoc on the league’s centers and occupy opposing guards with his combination of size and agility, disrupting running games.

“Our bell cow in there is Haloti,” Harbaugh said. “He’s our best player inside, probably the best player in the National Football League. I know Haloti is really, really motivated to have a great year. ... Adding those guys and putting the pieces around him is a huge part of what we’re doing.”