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Where the Rush? Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens

Street Talk Where the Rush?

Posted in Street Talk
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The Ravens have not pulled the trigger on a veteran pass rusher,

The team lost Yannick Ngakoue, Matt Judon and Jihad Ward via free agency.

Justin Houston still wants too much money and Melvin Ingram apparently is not an appealing option for the team.

There could be a method to the madness. The Ravens might feel they have enough depth on the current roster to boost the pass rush. The team re-signed outside linebackers Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee. Jaylon Ferguson is also still on the roster.Baltimore also drafted Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes, who are expected to contribute despite Neither player putting up big sack numbers in college.

The Ravens are confident they have the type of system where they can plug-and-play with the pass rush. They let Za’Darius Smith leave via free agency after a 10.5 sack season,

If the Ravens are worried about the pass rush, they sure aren’t showing it.

“I enjoy rushing the passer,” Hayes said, “I feel like there’s no quicker way to change the outcome of a game than sacking the quarterback. So, probably rushing the passer is my favorite part.”

Defensive coordinator Don Martindale has been creative blitzing quarterbacks. The Ravens will often blitz from the secondary and the defensive line has been better with Calais Campbell getting into the backfield.

The Ravens also like to blitz so much that opposing quarterbacks get rid of the ball quicker. This put an onus on the secondary to make plays, and the team has invested heavily in that part of the team.

“For sure, this year quarterbacks got the ball out faster than ever before,” GM Eric DeCosta. “I think going back to 2013 actually, quarterbacks threw the ball [and] got rid of the ball quicker this year. We faced a lot of teams this year that were the fastest teams at getting the ball out of their hands. Sacks were down this year in the league [and] pressures were down this year. I still think you have to have a pass rush, especially when you’re playing play-action-type teams – that’s a critical, critical thing.”

Cornerback Marlon Humphrey signed a huge five-year, $97.5 million deal last offseason, and Marcus Peters has played at a Pro-Bowl level since being acquired from the Rams.

The team also expects to get back Tavon Young, who signed a three-year, $28 million extension in 2019, from injury. Jimmy Smith is a solid veteran that can still make plays.

Baltimore also drafted Brandon Stephens and Shaune Wade for depth. Those two players might need a little seasoning but represent the future of the secondary. Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott are solid at safety. The team added undrafted rookie Ar’Darus Washington, who might turn out to be a steal.

In the Ravens’ recent rookie minicamp, the defenders were in the backfield most of the day and the offense had little time to throw the ball. Martindale will be even more creative when the regular season begins.

The Ravens will find a way to get the quarterback — with or without a veteran pass rusher.

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About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich
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