Rant Of The Week: Frustrations With Ravens D

Chris Schisler

I’m going to go right out and say it, I have lost my patience with Dean Pees. The P in Pees must stand for passive because thats how he calls a game. The Ravens play a soft zone, apply little to no pass rush and allow huge amounts of yards to the opponent. I am tired of hearing that they got the stops when they really needed it. I’d rather them just play well the entire game. The red zone defense has been good, and that is important. However I am sick of waiting for the red zone to play defense. What the Ravens are doing is not working.

In 2012 Pees had injuries to key players that served as an excuse. In 2013 he had every excuse in the book at his disposal. This year I have lost my patience. The Ravens defense is too easy to read before the snap, with little to no movement or bluffing. The pass defense is just awful and this year I don’t care about excuses.

The Ravens have there limitations in the secondary. The safety play has ranged from poor to average. Ladarius Webb missed the first two games of the season, and was seemingly not 100% on Sunday. This is why the Ravens have elected conservative coverages for their secondary. The results have in a way been stellar as the Ravens have allowed only 4 touchdowns in three games.

There is a catch to all of this though. If the Ravens are content to sit back in zone and cushioned man to man, they have got to get pressure. The Ravens defense blitzes seldom. To get pressure its usually a standard 4-5 man rush. This means that the outside linebackers have to play great off the edge and the players rushing must win one on one match ups. Teams are doing everything they can to take Terrell Suggs’s impact away. Elvis Dumervil has been rather lackluster other than in the Pittsburgh game. Sitting in zone and doing nothing to pressure the passer is a recipe for disaster.

I could blame the players for these troubles, but that would not be fair. Surely the Ravens can play better, but Dean Pees can call the game better too. I hate the phrase bend but don’t break, but Pees uses this as an extreme. Offenses are happy to nickel and dime the Ravens down the field; they will take what you give them. A coach’s job is to put his players in the best situation to be successful. With this passive defense he is simply not doing this.

The Ravens who were once revered for organized chaos, are now known for red zone defense. The Ravens are good at the red zone because they have run stuffers and an added sense of urgency. While this is important and very good, relying on it is a danger. The Browns scored 3 touchdowns after marching easily down the field. Imagine how much easier the win would have come if Pees’s defense played better.

The Ravens have two good corners in Jimmy Smith and Ladarius Webb. They need to at least at times be allowed to play tight man coverage to shut down receivers. The Ravens need to blitz and come up with less transparent and grade school level blitzes. Most of all the Ravens must play well all through the field, not just the red zone or a big stop at the end.

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