Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees told the team’s official video show earlier this week that the Ravens reeling defense is “painful,” and that could mean literally and figuratively.
The Ravens are the walking wounded, and their psyche has taken a pounding, too, as the Ravens have made a precipitous drop toward the bottom of most NFL defensive rankings.
Pees has tried to stay positive about it all, and really, what else can he do? Even before his defense had taken a snap in training camp, it had lost the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year to an Achilles injury. Now he’s lost the emotional leader of the team in Ray Lewis (triceps), and its top cornerback, Lardarius Webb (knee), likely for the season.
His best down lineman, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, has been bothered by a knee injury. His Pro Bowl safety, Ed Reed has been bothered by a shoulder injury (which cost him no time, but did cost the Ravens 20 grand for not reporting it.)
And all of this comes after the Ravens suffered free agent departures of two defensive starters, Jarret Johnson and Cory Redding, who last season had helped the Ravens defense rank No. 3 overall and No. 2 against the run.
The dropoff has been alarming.