I sit here and scratch my head trying to find a rhyme or reason as to what is going on defensively for the Ravens.
Prior to the season, the talk of Raven Nation was how much better on paper this defense was going to be with free agent additions and the promotions from within.
Entering Week 10, it is clear statistically that this defense is, by far, better than they were in 2012. They boast the 10-ranked overall defense, rank second in red zone defense and fourth on third downs. Yet, they still give up the big plays.
While the Ravens offense hasn’t exactly helped the defense much it is fair to say that the defense gets tired late in games. This despite the fact that, as bad as the offense has been, the Ravens are right in the middle of the pack in time of possession per game (30:03, 19th in the NFL). Last year, the team found ways to get off the field late in games and give the offense a chance. That’s something that they have not been able to do thus far this year. Their inability to give the offense one last possession has had a big hand in the fact that the team has lost four games by 14 total points.
“Sometimes, we’re just a little bit tentative,” Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said yesterday. “I think that’s a little bit of our problem at the end of the game, and we’ve talked about it a lot this week. You’ve just got to go for it. You’ve got to feel good enough about yourself that you don’t worry about making a mistake.”
With the Bengals coming to town this Sunday I am hoping they did more than just talk about it.
It was reported yesterday that Terrell Suggs missed practice with a foot injury, while Daryl Smith and Jimmy Smith both were absent again for the second straight day. On Friday, however, all three were back on the practice field.
Going up against a high powered Cincinnati offense featuring Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, this defense will certainly need all hands on deck.
One thing that could really help the defense would be to play with a lead. If the offense can start fast and go up by a couple scores, guys like Suggs and Elvis Dumervil could really pin their ears back and go after the quarterback. As the Ravens have not held a lead in any game since Week 5 against Miami, their bookend pass rushers have been mostly negated.
If there ever was a week for the offense to start fast and furious this is the one! They are playing at home and the fact is that Dalton can be rattled. Wouldn’t it be nice to get an early lead and force the other team to play catch-up for once?
So for those fans going to the game on Sunday: be as loud as you can! A loud home crowd of a 3-5 football team can help their squad out as much as one of an 8-0 team.
Follow me on Twitter @Sportguyrsr