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  1. #1
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    What has actually happened to our defense?



    We all knew we were going to take a step back on D when we were going to be without Suggs for a number of games, but we all probably thought we would at least be in the better half with the players we have. We were supposed to have arguably the best secondary in the league going into this year. Cary Williams was an above average corner who didn't make many mistakes, and certainly not as many as he has this year. Paul Kruger had 6 sacks as a situation player, and has only had 1 as a full time starter this year so far, McPhee also had 6 sacks. Jameel McClain looked like a border line pro bowl ILB at times.

    So lets take a look at what changed in the offseason on the defensive side of the ball, and try and figure out what has happened to our beloved D.

    - Suggs ruptured his achillies tendon, and missed the first 6 games of the season. I think we can all agree that losing him has probably been the main problem in terms of where our pass rush has been so far. Our defense still looked bad when he was on the field today however, and maybe that wasn't quite Suggs from last year, but he was still a force out there. So there must be other under lying issues.

    - Lost Cory Redding and Jarret Johnson in FA. Both similar players, solid veterans who have been constantly over looked through out their careers. Both probably should have featured in pro bowls, certainly Redding deserved it with the way he played last year. Both obviously helped make up for a very good defense last year, but I'm starting to wonder if our defense would look any different if they were still with us this year. McPhee and Kruger were supposed to be decent replacements for them, because of promising 2011 years, however both have failed to impress this year and have taken huge steps back as starters. Courtney Upshaw and Albert McClellan have arguably looked almost as good as JJ did last year anyway, so surely we haven't had that much of an individual drop in performance, as those replacements are the only ones who have filled in well so far.

    - Ray Lewis and Ed Reed ageing. I am not usually one to show concern over the age of both of our leaders, but maybe they just can't play at a high level anymore, as both have not been them selves this year (Reed hasn't been him self since 2010, and Ray may be done for good now but I have doubts about that).

    - Change in coaches. I'm not really all that sure about what the overall difference in coaching philosophy's is between Pagano and Pees, but after defending Pees up to this point, I'm starting to wonder if that change in philosophy- whatever it is, is not working for us. Like I said above, we lost three starters on defense, so that obviously changed the performance of this unit, and it has given Pees a much harder task. But we had Suggs out there today, and we still didn't look that great, granted Webb is now out for a while too. That defense was a similar starting unit that helped this team go 4-0 when Ray was out, and was ranked 3rd overall.

    So basically, I refuse to accept that the reason we have had the worst defense in a long time in this franchises history is because of the players we've lost. We have lost players before, very good players, and still played MUCH better on D than we have done this year. In 09 we lost Bart Scott, had a very questionable secondary, and Terrell Suggs had a big OFF year with only 4 sacks. We still had a MUCH better defense that year than we do now, and we have arguably more talent on D than we did that year.

    So is it maybe locker room issues? I find that very hard to believe given the players we have on this team. At the end of the day though, it really doesn't matter what the reasons are, because this team have to start getting better on defense if we have any hopes of a SB run, because the offense is obviously not good or consistent enough to carry this team like this board had hoped and thought it could. I miss our old defense and I want it back, and sadly it may not be back until next year after the draft and FA when we will inevitably bring in more pieces.




  2. #2
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    Re: What has actually happened to our defense?

    They misjudged the next generation of players. The thought was that Kruger, Ellerbe, McClain, McPhee, Cody and Jones could replace some of the older expensive guys. This is the way the Ravens have always run their defense and since 99 it worked. These guys weren't nearly as good as those who left and Ray and Ed in their late 30s can't cover it up. It's very similar to what happened to the Patriots. Their answer was to cut their losses and dump guys no matter where they were drafted. I'm curious to see if Kindle is the first step towards that for the Ravens.
    He Who Dares.....Wins




  3. #3

    Re: What has actually happened to our defense?

    What happens to this defense is good players are getting old and the players drafted by the front office to replace them have been borderline busts.




  4. #4

    Re: What has actually happened to our defense?

    I touched on this in my latest story...

    http://russellstreetreport.com/time-...-their-defense




  5. #5

    Re: What has actually happened to our defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by leachisabeast View Post
    We all knew we were going to take a step back on D when we were going to be without Suggs for a number of games, but we all probably thought we would at least be in the better half with the players we have. We were supposed to have arguably the best secondary in the league going into this year. Cary Williams was an above average corner who didn't make many mistakes, and certainly not as many as he has this year. Paul Kruger had 6 sacks as a situation player, and has only had 1 as a full time starter this year so far, McPhee also had 6 sacks. Jameel McClain looked like a border line pro bowl ILB at times.

    So lets take a look at what changed in the offseason on the defensive side of the ball, and try and figure out what has happened to our beloved D.

    - Suggs ruptured his achillies tendon, and missed the first 6 games of the season. I think we can all agree that losing him has probably been the main problem in terms of where our pass rush has been so far. Our defense still looked bad when he was on the field today however, and maybe that wasn't quite Suggs from last year, but he was still a force out there. So there must be other under lying issues.

    - Lost Cory Redding and Jarret Johnson in FA. Both similar players, solid veterans who have been constantly over looked through out their careers. Both probably should have featured in pro bowls, certainly Redding deserved it with the way he played last year. Both obviously helped make up for a very good defense last year, but I'm starting to wonder if our defense would look any different if they were still with us this year. McPhee and Kruger were supposed to be decent replacements for them, because of promising 2011 years, however both have failed to impress this year and have taken huge steps back as starters. Courtney Upshaw and Albert McClellan have arguably looked almost as good as JJ did last year anyway, so surely we haven't had that much of an individual drop in performance, as those replacements are the only ones who have filled in well so far.

    - Ray Lewis and Ed Reed ageing. I am not usually one to show concern over the age of both of our leaders, but maybe they just can't play at a high level anymore, as both have not been them selves this year (Reed hasn't been him self since 2010, and Ray may be done for good now but I have doubts about that).

    - Change in coaches. I'm not really all that sure about what the overall difference in coaching philosophy's is between Pagano and Pees, but after defending Pees up to this point, I'm starting to wonder if that change in philosophy- whatever it is, is not working for us. Like I said above, we lost three starters on defense, so that obviously changed the performance of this unit, and it has given Pees a much harder task. But we had Suggs out there today, and we still didn't look that great, granted Webb is now out for a while too. That defense was a similar starting unit that helped this team go 4-0 when Ray was out, and was ranked 3rd overall.

    So basically, I refuse to accept that the reason we have had the worst defense in a long time in this franchises history is because of the players we've lost. We have lost players before, very good players, and still played MUCH better on D than we have done this year. In 09 we lost Bart Scott, had a very questionable secondary, and Terrell Suggs had a big OFF year with only 4 sacks. We still had a MUCH better defense that year than we do now, and we have arguably more talent on D than we did that year.

    So is it maybe locker room issues? I find that very hard to believe given the players we have on this team. At the end of the day though, it really doesn't matter what the reasons are, because this team have to start getting better on defense if we have any hopes of a SB run, because the offense is obviously not good or consistent enough to carry this team like this board had hoped and thought it could. I miss our old defense and I want it back, and sadly it may not be back until next year after the draft and FA when we will inevitably bring in more pieces.
    I agree with all of that, other than the coaching bit.

    Bill Walsh once said that you can scheme an offense with lesser talent to get points...you need talent on defense to survive. There are no magic schemes to get consistent pressure...especially when the middle of your defense is terrible at pass coverage. There are no magic schemes to get your CB's to have good ball skills.

    But more than anything, when you put 8 or 9 in the box to stop the run, and still can't, how can anyone blame the DC?

    None of the young guys Ozzie has taken have improved much at all. Jones, Cody, McClain and Kruger to a lesser extent, all have been stagnent and likely wouldn't be starting on half the defenses in the league (well, Cody probably would simply because there is a big lack of talent at NT with the growth of the 3-4).

    Ozzie is going to have to invest heavily in the defense next year...and make some really tough decisions. How much money do you offer Ed...who clearly is struggling tackling and doesn't look to have the range or quickness to jump routes like he used to. Do you approach Ray and tell him he has to take a pay cut...and potentially deal with the backlash of having to cut him if he calls your bluff? Do you bother trying to resign Cary, knowing that it may take Webbie some time to get back to the Webbie we saw last year? Do you bother making offers to Kruger and Ellerbe? Are there any good YOUNG ILB/DE/OLB's out there in UFA that you may be able to make a run at? Do you pretty much invest the entire draft into infusing the defense with some youth/speed/talent?
    Although Walsh's system of offense can compensate for lack of talent; however, defense is a different story. According to Walsh, talent on defense was essential and could not be compensated for. What did Walsh do in 1981? He acquired physical and talented players on defense.




  6. #6

    Re: What has actually happened to our defense?

    It is primarily the change in coordinators. There are plenty of defenses doing more with less talent. Troy P, Woodley and Harrison have all been out for significant stretches this year and their defense did not drop to the bottom of the league. Indy has had significant injuries and they are playing better D than the Ravens. That is with them switching to a 3-4 and not really having the personnel for it.




  7. #7
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    Re: What has actually happened to our defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by GOTA View Post
    They misjudged the next generation of players. The thought was that Kruger, Ellerbe, McClain, McPhee, Cody and Jones could replace some of the older expensive guys. This is the way the Ravens have always run their defense and since 99 it worked. These guys weren't nearly as good as those who left and Ray and Ed in their late 30s can't cover it up. It's very similar to what happened to the Patriots. Their answer was to cut their losses and dump guys no matter where they were drafted. I'm curious to see if Kindle is the first step towards that for the Ravens.
    We need to bring in the next generation of players up. Like I said, WE HAVE the pieces. We have Ngata, Suggs, Webb (hopefully comes back the same player), Pollard, and then we have promising players up and coming in Upshaw, McClellan, and maybe Jimmy Smith.

    But yeah your right, I think it will only take a simple offseason of cleaning house a little, letting go of guys like Cary Williams, Jameel McClain, Paul Kruger, etc. We need to bring in some solid veterans in the offseason through FA, and draft front 7 players in the early rounds. I really like the look of Manti Teo so far, and there are a number of pass rushers I like the look of too.




  8. #8
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    It is really as simple as relying on Ray and Ed way too long, not drafting well defensively, and backfilling positions with udfa's with low ceilings.

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  9. #9

    Re: What has actually happened to our defense?

    Also

    Terrence Cody going from being the future at NT to splitting time with a 33 year old DT whose out of football for a year.

    Ryan McBean, who could have been starting at the other End allowing McPhee to pass rush, being injured.




  10. #10

    Re: What has actually happened to our defense?

    In the simplest terms, we were unathletic but could push people around now we still arent athletic but we cant push people around anymore.




  11. #11
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    Re: What has actually happened to our defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Justlovemybirds View Post
    Also

    Terrence Cody going from being the future at NT to splitting time with a 33 year old DT whose out of football for a year.

    Ryan McBean, who could have been starting at the other End allowing McPhee to pass rush, being injured.
    Ryan McBean, I think could have been a very good replacement for Cory Redding, perhaps the more underrated loss was him getting injured in the pre season. He was much bigger than McPhee, and really aggressive.




  12. #12

    Re: What has actually happened to our defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by srobert96 View Post
    It is primarily the change in coordinators. There are plenty of defenses doing more with less talent. Troy P, Woodley and Harrison have all been out for significant stretches this year and their defense did not drop to the bottom of the league. Indy has had significant injuries and they are playing better D than the Ravens. That is with them switching to a 3-4 and not really having the personnel for it.
    While I think Lebeau is the best D coordinator of the last 15 years, it's way more to it than that.

    When you stack the hell out of the box...and teams STILL are running for 5-6 yards a pop, that isn't coaching. Did you see the replay of that one play where the Texans center (Myers) who weighs 290 lbs absolutely manhandle and drive a 350 lb Cody 5-6 yards back By HIMSELF...and blocked him so well, Cody couldn't get off a block made by a 290 pound guy and allow Foster to run right freaking past him? I wish I had video of that play as it exemplified the lack of talent, and the utter and complete lack of technique that our entire DL has (outside of Haloti...but he's hurt and it's obviously affecting his game again like it did midway through last year).

    Even with those guys out on the Steelers, they still have multiple guys on their front 7 that would be starting for us.
    Although Walsh's system of offense can compensate for lack of talent; however, defense is a different story. According to Walsh, talent on defense was essential and could not be compensated for. What did Walsh do in 1981? He acquired physical and talented players on defense.




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