Report on Ravens Run Defense

Report On Ravens Run Defense | Chris Schisler

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The world champion Ravens had their weaknesses. The chief weakness was run defense. It was ironic to see a team known for defense win the Super Bowl in a season where the defense was anything but spectacular.
In the second half the huge lead in the Super Bowl had been erased quickly, it was up to Joe Flacco and the offense to win the game. As training camp begins the run defense must be a focus of the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens defense had one of its worst seasons of the Ray Lewis era. The Cowboys game sticks out the most. Demarco Murray rushed for 200 yards in the first half alone. If it were not for the Cowboys inventing ways to lose the Ravens would have lost the game.

Part of the problem was the injured nucleus of the team. It was not until the first round of the playoff game against the Colts; that Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, Ed Reed & Terrell Suggs were on the field at the same time. Injuries were only part of the problem.

The defensive line was at times awful and wore down quickly. Offensive linemen were able to reach the second level of the defense with ease. This allowed for big plays on the ground, as linebackers were fighting off blockers constantly.

This was painfully apparent against the Houston Texans and the Washington Redskins. The game in Washington may have been the worst defensive performance the Ravens have ever had.Washington ran for 179 yards, averaging 5.1 yards a carry. The Ravens lost the shootout 31-28. The Redskins offense wore the defense so badly that back up quarterback, Kurt Cousins marched to what was pretty much, the game winning score with ease. The Ravens defense played so poorly they deserved to lose.

There was a reason the Ravens lost so many players on defense. They didn’t want them. Paul Kruger was awful against the run. Ellerbee was good vs the pass but inconsistent against the run. Ed Reed was maybe just half of the great player he used to be. The Ravens knew it was time to reload. The defense that Ravens fans knew and loved was on its last legs.

Ozzie Newsome let the fire-sale run its course without panic. He had a plan and he carried it out. The Ravens quickly signed to good defensive tackles in Chris Canty and Marcus Spears.

Then the Ravens drafted a great group of defensive linemen highlighted by Brandon Williams and John Simon. Arthur Brown, linebacker out of Kansas State may have been the steal of the draft. While it is unfair to expect Ray Lewis level play from Brown, Brown will be a great linebacker. His athleticism, high football IQ and great tackling should help him be very productive.

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While the addition of Elvis Dumervil helps the pass rush most; he is a much better run defender than Paul Kruger was. The Ravens use mostly 3-4 principles. With this type of defense you stop the run on the way to the quarterback. The improved pass rush will improve the whole defense. Ravens also signed Darryl Smith a veteran linebacker from Jacksonville.

The Ravens defensive line has much more depth. Part of the problem in 2012 was the durability of veterans like Haloti Ngata. Expect more out of Ngata in 2013. He will be playing inside over the center or a guard. Ngata is a mismatch for any guard or center. Secondly Brandon Williams can rotate in and out keeping Ngata fresh throughout the entire game. The defensive line depth and strength should make for a much better run defense.

There are a lot of new pieces that were added to the Ravens defense. Only time will tell the level of success Newsome had this offseason. On paper the Defense looks like a dominant unit. A better, younger and deep defensive roster should make the Ravens more successful in 2013.

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