As a linebacker, Albert McClellan is used to delivering the hits.
Early in the third quarter last night, however, the undrafted rookie wound up on the receiving end of a huge hit.
While running down the field on punt coverage, McClellan got blown up by Redskins fullback Darrel Young, sending the Ravens linebacker flying, and drawing a chorus of "Ohh's" and "Ahh's" from the crowd at FedExField.
"I guess that's my welcome to the next level," McClellan joked afterwards. "I didn't see him. I seen the first guy, but I didn't see the second guy. It was a good, solid hit. The returner set the block up perfect."
Another Ravens linebacker fared a little better last night.
Jason Phillips had his second straight huge game, notching a sack, forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. This comes after last week's game in which he led the Ravens with six tackles against the Panthers.
"It's good to see," head coach John Harbaugh said of Phillips' performance. "That's what he did in college. It's good to see those types of things showing up in game situations. He's got a little bit of a knack for making plays, especially in the run game. So I think he did that tonight."
Phillips scored one of the biggest defensive plays of the night when he came clean on a blitz in the third quarter, sacking Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman, forcing a fumble, and then topping it off by falling on the loose ball. It was a big moment for the 2009 fifth-round pick, who spent all of last season on Injured Reserve with a knee injury.
"It was a lot of fun for me to get back out there and make some plays," Phillips said. "I've been waiting for that chance since last year to get out there and make something happen. Luckily, I was in the right position to do it and fortunately I made the play."
Phillips is battling for a roster spot as an inside linebacker, but he's still got some work to do. The Ravens are very deep on the inside with Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe, Tavares Gooden and Brendon Ayanbadejo (when healthy) all ahead of the TCU product on the depth chart.
But so far this preseason, Phillips has been the one making the big plays.
"I think I'm in the competition right now," Phillips said. "There's a lot of good backers on this team. It's still a tight race. It's a long preseason and a long season, so it's just going to come down to who can stay steady and who can stay consistent."
Even if he gets cut by the Ravens at the end of camp, Phillips will have a decent shot at earning a roster spot with one of the 31 other teams because he's showed well on film. But that's not what Phillips is thinking about right now.
"You're getting great film, but I love the organization," he said. "I don't want to play anywhere else. I'm doing whatever I can to stay."