When you think of the Ravens what do you think?
But in my opinion there are still a few things that are not perfected.
Don’t get me wrong, I love our defense and am proud that we have one of the best in the NFL. However, it seems their aggression has slipped a bit. Last year we only had 27 sacks! Cameron Wake, the linebacker from Miami had 14. That’s one player with more than half of what we had.
This stat is eye-opening!
With powerhouse pass-rushers like Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, and Haloti Ngata, we should have no problem getting to the quarterback and pounding him to the ground. I know one of the main problems last year was Greg Mattison. He didn’t seem to have the fire and the passion that our past defensive coordinators have had.
As for the 3-4 defense, I am not a big fan. If it’s a 3rd and 9 situation with the ball on the offensive half of the field, why are you only rushing three guys? That is why the sack total was down last year. We were in a 3-4 defense and not sending the blitz enough. I’m not saying you should blitz every time, just in certain situations. As I said, surely, we have the guys that can make us a 40+ sack team. The Green Bay Packers had 47 sacks last year. This should be the stat they we put up on yearly basis.
“Physical Swagger”, a phrase my purple-blooded Grandpa uses all the time, has been a part of Baltimore’s defense for at least 10 years now. They have always taken pride in humiliating the opponent! Yet humility is likely what the defense felt with such a low sack total.
And why shouldn’t they?
Look at Oakland, another 47 sack team last year. And come on…Detroit….44 sacks… People say statistics are not all that important. But to our guys, if they are not the top at everything they do, I’m sure they get upset. That attitude of our defense is what makes us Ravens fans happy every Sunday.
Speaking of attitude, moving Chuck Pagano to the “D” Coordinator spot is going to be an interesting story line this year. Will he continue to run the 3-4? Will we be blitzing more this year? Those questions can be answered in the pre-season, assuming there is one. Those four games, (which by the way are way too many for pre-season), can show us something this year. It will be fun to see what kind of style he is running and how aggressive he is on sending pass rushers. Hopefully in free agency we get a strong, speedy, and solid lineman.
Another thing that makes me think twice is the prevent defense. I understand the logic of it- “don’t let up the big play and keep the runner in bounds”. But it seems as if the Ravens use it the entire 4th quarter. Of all the clichés that John Harbaugh uses, one of them that I would love to hear him say… “Prevent defense prevents you from winning”. Sure, it’s one of the most common clichés in football. By now you would think that maybe one of the coaches would have heard it.
I can guarantee it strikes through the heart of players like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and the entire defense. I know it does as a fan. As a group, the defense is told to never let up an INCH! I’m sure the players from Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and Chicago are told the same thing. Harbaughs “mighty men” are not used to letting up any yardage at all. So the prevent defense… let’s use it, not misuse it.
If these issues continue, the new guys we are bringing in on defense will not be taught the Raven way. The Raven way is to be ruthless on defense 24/7.
Football is a game of emotion. If you let up in the 4th quarter and the game goes into overtime, you have to change your whole game plan. The other team would then have the emotional advantage. This is why you can never ease off.
Every quarter, every moment, never give up and never ease up.
A Super Bowl winning defense will be merciless no matter what.