When you look at the issues Matt Elam had as a rookie, they weren't necessarily his fault.
He was playing the free safety spot, which has plenty of differences at the NFL level, regardless of the Ravens coaching staff's claims to the media that they're essentially interchangeable. Elam, in college, was much better as a strong safety and last season indicated that.
Therefore, Elam had an easy excuse to make. He was not only adjusting to the game speed of the NFL in his first season, but he was playing an unfamiliar position. However, speaking to reporters at the team's facility on Wednesday, Elam made no excuses.
"No, I feel like I had a terrible rookie season. That's why I'm coming in this year and preparing the way I am, and I'm looking forward to doing big things this year, because I'm preparing myself every day in practice. [I'm] getting my guys better around me, and I feel the sky is the limit."
Elam has moved back to strong safety and will start there in 2014. He hasn't had a standout camp, but keep in mind that this is the preseason. It's extremely tough to judge how effective a player is in practice at time. The desire to see big plays sometimes isn't fulfilled until games that matter take place.
Elam will have plenty of chances to improve from where he was at a rookie. And the experience of being thrown into the fire and being forced to learn on the fly should certainly help him.