The Cleveland Browns were one of the busiest teams in the NFL during the first two days of free agency. Their first big signing was Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger. A backup for most of his time in Baltimore, Kruger started to make a name for himself this season. Kruger had nine sacks in the regular season and then was a big help to the Ravens postseason run as well. He’s just 27-years-old so there are a lot of things to like about Kruger but there are questions about him as well. His production only picked up this season when Terrell Suggs, former Defensive Player of the Year, returned to the lineup. Unlike Baltimore, Cleveland doesn’t boast a defense with premier players like Suggs or Haloti Ngata taking the defense’s attention away. Not to mention, Kruger was signed to be a full-time player and cornerstone piece of the team’s defense. The only problem with that is during his time in Baltimore, Kruger was a part-time player. For a reason. And now instead of rushing the passer against right tackles, he will be doing it against left tackles. Kruger is a solid pass-rusher that will help the Browns defense, but Cleveland went out this offseason searching for a premier pass-rusher. They’re still looking. At least, they still have the sixth pick in the NFL Draft to continue that search.
Paul Kruger joined 92.3 the Fan in Cleveland with Bull & Fox to talk about what he will bring to the Browns, how he thinks he will like playing for Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton, why he chose the Browns in free agency, his thoughts on Browns fans and what it will be like to sack former teammate Joe Flacco for the first time.
On what he will bring to the Browns:
“I’m just as excited, right back at them. I really am ecstatic to be here. It seems like just a great place to play. I think over the past four years I have been able to be a part of some special teams with some special guys so having those experiences I think is invaluable and being able to bring that to the table is something I’m proud of and I definitely want to do. That’s kind of off-the-field stuff. As far as playing ball it will be very similar things to what you saw in Baltimore. Just more of it. I will be able to get a little more playing time depending on how they use me and be able to make the plays that need to be made to win games and to be a standout on defense and be a player that guys can look to in order to help us win.”
How he will like playing for a Ray Horton defense that likes to attack:
“Yeah absolutely. That’s an outside linebacker’s dream is to be in blitzes, mixing it up and being aggressive so from all that I have heard about Ray, from the things he does, Coach Horton just seems like the exact fit for what they are trying to build here.”
On why he picked the Browns:
“Well, at first it wasn’t the number one option for me, but as time went by and I started to understand what they’re trying to build and the type of people they’re bringing in here, the type of players they already have and what they’re creating here, I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be a part of an up-and-coming team and somebody that can help change the atmosphere, at least help change. Be a part of something special like that, it just seems like a nice transition as a player and as somebody who wants to make a name for themself.”
On his thoughts on Browns fans:
“Everything I’ve heard and having experienced it first hand, it’s just gotta be a great place to play. The way they support the team, come out to games and all of that. It’s just an electric place and I learned that first hand. We played the Browns twice this last year and I remember both of those games very vividly and it’s a tough team and I’m excited to be a part of it. Not only is it a tough team but it’s a young team. I think they’re really on to something here and they’re building a beast. It takes some time to build something like that, but once it comes around it will last for longer than people can expect.”
What it will be like to sack Joe Flacco for the first time:
“It’s going to be a wild experience. I’ve only played on one team for my whole career. The last four years I have been with Baltimore so to go play against those guys it’s going to be weird at first but I’m really excited about it. I’m close to those guys but I’ve been playing against those offensive linemen for so long it’s going to be fun to have that matchup finally.”
Do you expect to be in the playoffs again this year?
“Absolutely. 100 percent. That’s something we are going to work on from tomorrow until training camp and then into the season so I definitely expect that.”