Breakout Players for 2012

Breakout Players

1.  WR Torrey Smith:  No doubt more great numbers should stack up for Smith. He played injured (hernia) part of last season and was the receiver the Ravens needed for the deep threat.

Key: Smith will draw a lot of attention from opponents this year. He can expect more double teams and he will need to improve his route running to shake coverage.

2. TE Dennis Pitta:  Look for the 2012 offense to get both Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta more opportunities in the red-zone. Pitta has demonstrated great hands and with more scoring opportunities, he could be an integral part of the passing attack.

Key: Pitta is developing into an excellent weapon and will need to continue to work on getting open, by getting physical against coverage.

3. OLB Paul Kruger:  Finally Paul Kruger will get some playing time, although fans would rather have T-Sizzle in the line-up. In 2011 Kruger was a situational pass rusher and had close to 6 sacks (5.5). It just seems the Ravens are finally using Kruger the way he should be—off the edge. Remember his second year, the coaches asked him to bulk up– a bad idea.

Key:  Playing the Run.  One thing about Suggs, he makes a lot of plays in the backfield to snuff out runs. Kruger needs to hold his own versus the run.

4. SS Bernard Pollard:  Agressive play from Pollard helped put the Ravens secondary in the top five, ranking 4th in passing yards (196 yards per game) allowed in 2011.  Pollard is strong supporting the front seven, yet he displayed better than expected coverage skills. He has a year under his belt playing in the Ravens defensive schemes which is a plus.

Key: The Ravens cornerbacks must continue to excel. If they do more opportunities will afford Pollard.

5. CB Jimmy Smith:  It won’t be a surprise to see Jimmy Smith earn a starting role in 2012. Keep in mind Smith was one the top corners coming out of the draft. With Cary Williams and Lardarius Webb, the corner postions are a strength for the defense.  Smith is a big physical corner, and should be stronger in his second year.

Key: Staying healthy: In 2011 smith had a few injuries that slowed his progress.

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