Ravens lose another defensive lineman for the year — can Chris Canty step up?

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Some bad news on the injury front.

Kapron Lewis-Moore, the Ravens’ sixth-round pick from last year’s draft who essentially redshirted his rookie season due to a torn ACL, will miss the upcoming season due to a torn Achilles.  The injury happened during the 11-on-11 portion of the Ravens and 49ers joint practice, and the scene was understandably melancholy.  According to reports, the young defensive lineman was in tears as he was carted off the field.

Lewis-Moore and Brent Urban were two players expected to compete and contribute at the five-technique, and now there is only Chris Canty.  When Urban went down, the injury was disappointing for its implications on Urban’s development, as Lewis-Moore was expected to receive the lion’s share of the playing time behind Canty.  Now, it is Canty’s job, and Canty’s alone — when taking into consideration a player’s ideal fit.

“It’s very unfortunate and very disappointing because the kid has been having a phenomenal camp, and he just came off of the knee injury,” Terrell Suggs said about Lewis-Moore’s Achilles injury. “To see him work all the way back, just to get injured in camp is very unfortunate … a horrible feeling.

“I wish him a speedy recovery, and he’ll get back at it,” Suggs added, however the gravity of the injury didn’t escape him. “It’s hard to lose those two guys with all that potential, and they were doing so well in camp.  They definitely showed that they would be able to help this team win; to lose them in camp is definitely unfortunate.  But we know injuries are a part of the game.”

“We understand that injuries are a part of the game,” Chris Canty said on July 30, after Brent Urban’s ACL tear. “We understand that when somebody goes down, the next man has to step up, and we have a job to do — we have a responsibility.  So it’s tough to see, but at the same time we have to focus on the task ahead, that’s continue to progress this football team and continuing to improve it.”

Canty, at age 31, is around the age where players are still capable of producing at a high level while also having the experience to know what to do, and what not to do.  He described that as a process in itself, especially when it comes to conditioning.

“I’ve learned that you have to work harder when you get north of thirty,” Canty said with a smile and laugh. “No, you just have to understand your body; you have to listen to it, become more aware.  You have to take care of it from nutrition, to the way you train — the specific exercises you do, the body work, the flexibility work — just to make sure that you can do everything that you can to stay healthy.  Keep everything going so you can continue to work hard and improve your game as a player.

“So definitely this offseason that’s something that I focused on,” Canty continued. “Making sure I’m focusing on my nutrition, switched up my training regiment a little bit, did a couple things a little differently, so hopefully that bodes well for me moving forward this season.”

Yes, hopefully, indeed.

Canty made a point this offseason to try and improve as a pass rusher, as he identified that as one of his biggest areas of improvement from his inaugural season in Baltimore.  At 6-foot-7, he is known for his ability stopping the run — but with the Ravens now lacking depth at his five-technique spot, they will surely be looking for all-around production from the former Virginia lineman.

“I made a commitment this offseason to make sure that I came back in better shape than I was this time last year,” Canty said. “I tried to make sure that my body was healthy so I can do all I can do to help this football team improve.”

The injury to the promising Kapron Lewis-Moore is not what you want to hear, but the Ravens will have to move forward.  The only other player on the Ravens defensive line with experience at the five-technique slot is DeAngelo Tyson, who played there in his Georgia career.  However, he is a bit undersized for the prototypical role — though suffice to say, the Ravens will have to throw that prototype out the window in light of the recent injuries.

As they say: Next Man Up.

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