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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-07-12

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-07-12

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-07-12
One rookie who has stood out is Oniel Cousins, but it's not just because of his play.

Cousins has been in two fights in non-contact offseason workouts, bringing a much-needed physical side to the Ravens' offensive line.

"When I play the game, I usually tick a lot of people off, and they try to fight me," Cousins said. "Hopefully, they lose their focus, and that's all part of my game plan."

Over the past couple of years, the Ravens drafted athletic linemen. As a result, they became more of a finesse unit.

Under first-year coach John Harbaugh, he wants to change the culture to a more hard-nosed one, especially along the offensive front.

One player who has embraced the new environment is Cousins, a third-round pick from Texas-El Paso. He has been involved in two fights, one with defensive tackle Amon Gordon and the other with outside linebacker Dan Cody.

"He has some Raven characteristics at this point, and he goes against some great defensive linemen every day," Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. "So, we like his spirit; we like his physicalness."

Cousins' first incident occurred at a minicamp in May, when he and defensive tackle Amon Gordon started flailing at each other at the end of a running play. It started a full-team brawl.

At another minicamp a month later, linebacker Dan Cody threw Cousins to the ground and ripped off Cousins' helmet on the way down.

"Fighting is just a part of competing," Cousins said. "Everybody out there is ... being physical. It's intensity. At the end of the day, it's over. You forget about it because it's just a game. But when the whistle blows ..."

Cousins is considered the fourth offensive tackle behind starters Jared Gaither and Adam Terry as well as backup Mike Kracalik.

Still a little raw, Cousins probably will need another year before he will compete for a starting job. But his nasty demeanor fits the mold of a right tackle.

Cousins is athletic and runs fairly well. He has decent strength, having bench-pressed 225 pounds 23 times at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis shortly before the April draft.

Most scouts label Cousins a "project" because he started at offensive tackle only for his two final seasons in college, on the left side as a junior and on the right last season.

He came to UTEP as a defensive tackle. He didn't start playing football until his sophomore year at a private California high school.

Cousins played soccer in his homeland, in Portland, Jamaica, before arriving in the United States at age 15.

"I came to the States to get an education and play soccer," Cousins said. "I played football once and fell in love with the sport. I like the preparation and the fact that when you get upset at yourself, or someone, you can take that aggressiveness out. It's legal. I have a lot of fun doing that."

Cousins' mother, Elaine Stewart, wasn't so thrilled about the change in sports. Each summer, her son was bigger and stronger when he returned to Jamaica. He came to America weighing 170. He now weighs 310.

"My momma, she wasn't too happy at first. She didn't want her baby to get hurt," Cousins said. "She also kept saying, 'You're getting bigger. You must be eating well.'

"But as soon as she found I was in love with football, and that it was going to help me excel, she was happy for me."

CAMP CALENDAR: Rookies, quarterbacks and injured veterans will report on July 21, while the remaining veterans will report on July 23. Camp concludes on Aug. 15.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: July 12, 2008

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Jim Leonhard Name: Jim Leonhard
Position: S
Age: 25
Experience: 4 years
College: Wisconsin
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