Corey Graham's looking for a chance to play some defense.
After spending five years in Chicago as a special teams standout, he saw little chance to break into the regular rotation in the secondary. This, despite Graham's assertion that Chicago's coaching staff said that if he made plays in practice he'd see game action.
As a reserve CB in 2011, Graham picked off a career-high three passes. But when his contract expired he decided to move on to Baltimore. He's been, perhaps, the player on defense who has stood out the most this preseason. Graham's done almost everything on a daily basis -- jump routes, bat passes away and intercept balls. He's been rewarded by working with the first team on numerous occasions.
"I didn't think I would get an opportunity in Chicago," Graham said. "It wasn't going my way. I wanted to go somewhere else get a fresh start, let some new eyes see me and hopefully get an opportunity to get a chance to play."
Of being primarily a special teams player in Chicago, he said: "That's just what (Bears coach) Lovie (Smith) wanted from me. Even in meetings, that's all he talked about: 'Corey is our guy on special teams.' No matter if I go out there and get six picks in practice, he would say something about special teams. That's just how it is. It's not like I don't want to do special teams. I've done it my whole life. I enjoy it, but some situations are better than others."
In two weeks of training camp, it appears Graham's skill set seems to be a fitting in with what defensive coordinator Dean Pees is installing. Graham has played multiple positions -- wide corner, nickel and safety -- and has shown strong awareness in recognizing routes. Graham described his decision to sign with Baltimore as the second best of his life, only behind marrying his wife.
"(Pees' defense is) not predictable," Graham said. "It's night and day from everything I played in Chicago. So, it's something I'm definitely getting used to. It's something I really like. I've never seen anything like it. Just learning all the different defenses and the different things you can do, it's like a kid in a candy store every day."
Graham figures to be a focal point on Baltimore's special-teams unit as a gunner. He's gained recognition among league coaches for his talent. This week alone, special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said he designed a play specifically to stop Graham. It didn't work.
"The whole design of the play was to beat him and he didn't fall for it," Rosburg said. "And he called me out right afterward. So yeah, he's very crafty. He's good to have in the room, too, because he can help a lot of the young players."
On the first depth chart released by the team, Graham is slated as the backup to Cary Williams at right CB. If training camp is an indicator, Baltimore appears to have a variety of packages available that Graham could work his way into this season.
"All I can do is go out there and show them I deserve to play, and hopefully they'll let me play," he said.