Matt Elam was given the daunting task of immediately starting in the Baltimore Ravens secondary, where he was asked to play at free safety during his rookie season. While he endured the challenges of transitioning his game to the NFL, Elam is displaying early signs of improvement during this offseason.
Cornerback Lardarius Webb has seen Elam make a noticeable effort to improve as a leader, specifically through his ability to effectively communicate with his teammates on the field.
According to Matt Zenitz of the Carroll County Times, Webb spoke about Elam following the organized team practice last week.
"I’m seeing him just taking control – just taking control with communicating with the linebackers and with me," Webb said. "Last year, I was a veteran, so I guess he didn’t communicate with me like he wanted to. Now, if he says it, it’s what he says. We play what he says. It’s just how he speaks. He speaks with confidence now, and you can just tell."
With the departure of veteran James Ihedigbo, Elam can now return to playing his natural position of strong safety. With rookie Terrence Brooks expected to start at free safety, Elam is commanding more responsibilities as an emerging talent on the Ravens defense.
Last season, the defense struggled due to the lack of experience from many of the new starters, including Elam. But after playing an entire season in the NFL, Elam appears poised to become one of the breakout starters for the Ravens in 2014.