Gray wants injured Colin McCarthy to stay involved

It’s looking increasingly unlikely that starting middle linebacker Colin McCarthy (ankle) will play against the Chargers on Sunday, but the second-year pro will have other responsibilities, according to defensive coordinator Jerry Gray.

Gray wants McCarthy to assume the kind of role Ray Lewis took on last year with the Ravens, when the veteran linebacker had to sit out four games with a toe injury.

“That’s one thing we’ve kind of talked to Colin about,” Gray said. “He has to take the idea of what Ray Lewis did last year. He’s the captain of our defense. You have to be the guy that’s out there with the cheerleader flag. You can’t just sit back and think nothing is going to happen. You still can set the tone from the sideline. You can do those things.”

In McCarthy’s absence, Will Witherspoon will move from weakside linebacker to the middle. He practiced there at times last season and did so again during training camp.

“Our middle linebacker and (weakside) linebacker are pretty much the same. Those guys are interchangeable,” Gray said. “You have to be able to play in space and do some more things, and now you have to do the talking.

“To me we did that last year with Witherspoon a little bit, not in games so much but in practice. We knew that if it came down to it, what would we do? … If Colin can’t play, you know what, we’ve been giving (Witherspoon) all training camp at that position. Now let’s get a chance to go out there and see what our work has done.”

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus