Ravens head coach John Harbaugh addressed the media today after practice, and while he was at the podium I asked him how important it is for both Kenny Young and Anthony Averett to start off on the right foot as rookies.
“It is important for rookies to start off well,” Harbaugh answered. “First impressions are important for anybody, and just to see that they can pick up the defense, and to see that they’re kind of what you thought they were when you drafted them, things like that [is encouraging].”
After a few strong practices strung together by rookie cornerback Anthony Averett, I was able to borrow a few minutes of his time and ask how important it is to produce a strong first impression with his new team.
“Just like you said, first impressions are important,” Anthony said. “I’m going to come out here and show what I can do. I want to be a playmaker, I want to be one of those type of guys.”
Averett certainly has made plays, as I’ve counted five pass breakups and a ‘sack’ in the four practices I’ve attended. He was my ‘Player of the Day’ on the second day of practice. Quite an early showing for a rookie.
Many are excited about the cornerback competition both in the slot and on the outside, but Averett doesn’t have a preference.
“Definitely by any means for the team, even special teams,” Averett said. “I’ll play wherever, outside or inside, safety, it doesn’t matter, I’ll play it all.”
Fans are thrilled to see both Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young healthy and practicing, which only adds to an already strong cornerback depth chart.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” Anthony responded, in regards to competing. “Especially, though, not just the competition but learning from the older guys, even Brandon Carr. They teach me a lot of things, too. I pretty much just try to be that sponge and soak everything in while I’m at it and in competition with them as well.”
Most fans know the Ravens are often drafting players from Alabama, but Anthony is one of five former Alabama players on this years roster.
“Yeah, it makes you feel at home a little bit,” Anthony said. “I’m a little bit more comfortable, especially when I have Marlon [Humphrey] in the secondary with me because he was on the other side the last time we were playing together. It’s definitely a blessing. Not a lot of players get that opportunity to play with their college teammates, so it’s a blessing just to be a part of that.”