Head to head: Ravens DE Paul Kruger vs. Steelers RT Kelvin Beachum/Ramon Foster
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To be sure, there was little the Steelers offense did well in Cleveland. They turned the ball over eight times, converted just 1 of 9 third downs and managed only one touchdown.
But, one thing they did do well was protect quarterback Charlie Batch, who will need more of that today against the Baltimore Ravens. Especially with the offensive line being shuffled about like a chess board.
The Browns (28) have more sacks than the Ravens (25), but they managed to sack Batch only once and didn't even touch him on most other occasions.
That was unlike what happened to Byron Leftwich in the first meeting with the Ravens two weeks ago. He was sacked three times and hammered on several others, so much so that he sustained two cracked ribs and walked off the field a couple of times in agony.
And most of the pressure was being generated by defensive end Paul Kruger, who had a sack and two pressures that forced incompletions in the first half alone. He also had a pass defensed and a forced fumble.
"He does a great job of going from speed to power," said rookie right tackle Kelvin Beachum. "And if you stop that speed to power, he has a good variety of counters. He's one of those guys who you got to get on him early and take away some of the things he does well."
Beachum might get the assignment.
Coach Mike Tomlin said early in the week that Beachum, a seventh-round pick from Southern Methodist, would start for injured Mike Adams (ankle) against the Ravens.
But, for most of the week, the Steelers have juggled their offensive line to compensate for the loss of left guard Willie Colon, who could miss his second game in a row with a knee injury.
The shuffling includes moving Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey to left guard to replace Colon, using Doug Legursky at center, starting No. 1 pick David Decastro at right guard and moving Ramon Foster to right tackle. All the juxtaposing did not include Beachum.
"I know what the task at hand is; I know what they gave us in the first game," Beachum said. "I look at that game and try to evaluate some of the things they did good and attack some of the weaknesses they had. I just do my job and hope everything falls into place."
In the past two games, the Ravens have looked like their former selves, registering nine sacks. They had a season-high six last week against Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.
Even if Beachum doesn't start, he will be the top backup at both tackle spots with Adams out and Marcus Gilbert on injured reserve. Beachum (6-3, 306) has played in only two games this season and had something of a rough start, getting penalties on two of his first eight plays.
But, if he has to play, Pouncey thinks Beachum will be fine.
"He's got great technique, great footwork and he knows how to place his hands inside," Pouncey said. "He's not the biggest guy, but he has great effort, great technique and finish. We're definitely going to need that."
First Published December 2, 2012 12:00 am