It wasn't a big surprise to see Terrence Cody come into training camp having slimmed down a bit, given the constant pressure the Ravens have put on their big-bodied defensive tackle to keep his weight in check.
It was a little more surprising, however, to see Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata show up looking more like a tight end than a run-stuffing defensive lineman.
Ngata cut about 20-lbs. this offseason, bringing his weight down to the 325-330-lb. range, a decision which he says he made to try and improve his stamina, both within games and over the course of a season.
"I just lost the weight basically just to see how I felt during the season and see how it would affect me towards the end of the season," Ngata said. "I felt like last year I was kind of getting a little worn down just having so much weight on, and I just wanted to see how it felt this year. It feels good."
There might be some concern among fans that a three-time All Pro player who is consistently ranked as one of the top defensive lineman in the league would so dramatically alter his body composition. Ngata, however, says he isn't concerned that losing so much weight will cause his on-field performance to suffer.
"I think about it, but for me, I can gain weight so easy," Ngata said. "Keeping the weight down or losing the weight is a lot tougher for me. If I do gain weight, hopefully I can gain it in a healthier way instead of getting chubby."
"I don't think he is going to lose any power at all," said head coach John Harbaugh, quick to shoot down the idea that Ngata's weight loss could be a poor decision. "To me, he is going to be just as powerful, just as explosive, and then maybe a little bit quicker. I'm sure he is in great shape. You can tell he is in great shape, so he should be able to play harder, longer and that means more plays."
As for Cody, the second-year defensive tackle says he's down to 350-lbs. following an offseason that featured a lot of running and conditioning drills. The Alabama product said he also changed his diet and cut down on his calorie intake.
"He is looking real good," Ngata said of Cody. "He definitely lost some weight and kept the weight down, so it is good that he is able to do that and come out still run to the ball like he has been, and he is doing a lot of good things."
With veteran Kelly Gregg signing with the Chiefs, Cody seems poised to take hold of Gregg's starting job, and the 23-year-old hopes that cutting a few pounds and being in better shape will help him see more action this year and become more of an every-down player.
"Yeah, I feel like I can play more than what I did last year," Cody said. "I feel like I can play all three downs if I get that chance."