Before his summer vacation, we sat down to talk Ravens with team Director of Personnel, Eric DeCosta…
Tony Lombardi: Cary Williams has the measurables that you look for…length, speed, etc. Why hasn’t he put it all together on the field? What does he need to do to take that next step and take advantage of a golden opportunity with the Ravens?
Eric DeCosta: Cary is a player who has all the physical abilities to emerge as a contributor. He is young and still learning the ways that we play coverage. We expect that he will take the next step and emerge as a true defensive asset this season. At the very least he has shown to be one of our best special teams players. That, in itself, makes him one of our game day players most weeks.
TL: Defenders seem to play better when they become Ravens. Why do you think that is?
ED: Good players impact lesser talents. There is a type of peer pressure that takes place where the new guys feel the necessity to step up their game. The other factor is that good players can cover up holes. A good example would be where you have two relentless pass rushers like Mathis and Freeney in Indy. They can cover up more marginal talents at other spots (like corner) because they make it easier for those players to perform their jobs.
TL: What did Walt Harris and Ken Hamlin show you in their workouts and during OTA’s that convinced you that they are a good fit for Greg Mattison’s defense?
ED: Both guys are smart and have a history of Pro-Bowl play. They will provide top quality camp competition.
TL: Back to Coach Mattison again, after the bye last year the defense played much better. Talk about the nuances involved in adapting to and then becoming familiar with a new style and approach to defense.
ED: It is really all about gaining a comfort level with the scheme and figuring out how you use your players so that they can best perform. Certainly, our defense improved over the course of the year. Another reason, however, had something to do with the quality of quarterback that we faced in the first half of the season. Good players play well. When you face players like Rivers, Brady, Favre, and Manning, there are bound to be some hiccups.
TL: Why has the team decided that Michael Oher is a better left tackle than Jared Gaither?
ED: I don’t think the team has decided that Oher is a better fit at left tackle than Gaither. Training camp and the preseason games will determine that.