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Saturday, July 2, 2022

With Super Bowl Eyes On, Ravens Star Kallis Campbell Is Leading a Short Defensive Line: ‘Those Guys Watch Her’

The first step is out, around the starting teammate standing in the way. Next is inside, cutting across the field towards the coach standing in the role of quarterback.

The drill is simple. Defensive linemen are not wearing pads – just a jersey, shorts and a helmet – and neither are coaches. So they shouldn’t really finish the sack.

Rookie Travis Jones was missing that part.

He quickly took his turn. outside inside. The 6-foot-4, 327-pound lineman arrived with such force that he grabbed the sack while slamming the ball to the ground.

“Tell me we’ve got that on tape,” shouted defensive line coach Anthony Weaver as Jones laughed while helping the coach.

Calais Campbell was delighted to watch it all happen during Wednesday’s obligatory minicamp. By default, the 15-year-old veteran is again a leader. It’s a role he craves, even if he’s not sure he’s going to play it barely six months before this season.

While Campbell didn’t have a single perfect moment to know he’d be back, watching the Super Bowl might have sealed it.

“I’ve always dreamed of playing there,” Campbell said. “I’ve always wanted to come back and have a vision to play with this team.”

Campbell played with the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, losing 27–23 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. That was his rookie year, and he hasn’t come back since. He saw the Los Angeles Rams win a ring in February and realized he still wanted one. He wanted to be out on the field, to play in that game, and to do the same to the Ravens.

Campbell considered moving elsewhere, but just before finally signing his contract in early April, he messaged Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta. He told DeCosta that he wanted to come back.

This means taking on a leadership role that is expected of a player of his stature. Coach John Harbaugh said Monday that the NFL is an “advisory league.” With more experience than nearly all other Ravens defensive linemen, this is an important part of Campbell’s job.

During minicamp practice, he is often the most vocal player. When outside linebacker Dallin Hayes got into a heated moment, Campbell was about to pull him aside and help calm him down.

“It’s valuable in large part because those people see him,” Harbaugh said. “These people grew up watching Kallis Campbell. These were the people when they were in high school or junior high or in some cases what we call elementary school.”

According to Football Outsiders, Campbell is still the star of a defensive line that last season finished fourth in the NFL in run defense efficiency. It has familiar faces returning to Baltimore, such as Brent Urban and Michael Pierce, although Pierce has not participated in the first two days of the minicamp. Harbaugh said Pierce has a “personal matter” and did not provide any further details on Tuesday.

It is expected that young players like Jones will contribute quickly and Justin Madubuik will take another step forward in his third year. Last year, Madubuike made 36 tackles, seven tackles for loss, five quarterback hits and two sacks. After starting 11 games, he could start full-time this year.

“Every year is an important year for me,” Madubuike said. “Each year is another chance to get better. Keep progressing your career.”

The need for young players like Jones to bring the displayed power to break Wednesday or Madubuiq has grown with the absence of Brandon Williams, who remains a free agent, and Derek Wolff, who is in injury settlement after another hip surgery. Arrive. Jones and Madubuike are the main faces in the race for youth. That’s why the Ravens spent their third-round pick on Jones, a player who draft analysts should have chosen later.

The linesman took a quick break after finishing his pass rush drill on Wednesday. Most knelt down, catching water on a hot June afternoon. They told jokes, already seemed to bond like a tight-knit group. Campbell teaches Jones some hand-to-hand fighting moves, using this opportunity to help a rookie finish a sack when a real quarterback goes back to pass.

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World Nation News Desk
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