Bob Haynie: How Good Can The Ravens Be On D?
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The 2013 NFL season did not start well for the Baltimore Ravens and their defense. The Ravens were destroyed by the Broncos, 49-27, as Denver QB Peyton Manning tossed seven touchdown passes. After being victimized by Manning and his record-tying performance, the Ravens were just a tad embarrassed. So much so, that safety James Ihedigbo doesn’t even like referring to the game during his weekly radio show.
Since the opener, Baltimore’s defense has regrouped and seem to be heading in a positive direction. Although still prone to giving up the big play, the players are developing a strong chemistry and are working on perfecting the communication in the secondary.
They are also growing in confidence. Ihedigbo told me that the rest of the league better watch out once the Ravens iron out the kinks and get healthy on D. DE/LB Pernell McPhee took the bravado up a notch by saying the NFL isn’t going to know what hits them when it comes to Baltimore’s physicality.
Since the Denver debacle, the Ravens have only allowed three offensive touchdowns. They are second in the NFL in sacks (19) and, even though the Bills rushed for 203 yards against them, they rank sixth in rushing yards per game (89.8).
Linebacker Terrell Suggs is playing like an All-Pro and new additions Daryl Smith and Elvis Dumervil have been strong at LB.
However, the Ravens still have some issues on defense. They only have three interceptions as a group and Smith has two of them. Needless to say, the secondary has to start forcing more turnovers. Baltimore has also been flagged 42 times on defense. That dubious stat leads the league. The Ravens have a tendency to get burned by the long pass. Against the Miami Dolphins this past Sunday, Baltimore gave up four passes of 30 yards or more.
With the Green Bay Packers and QB Aaron Rodgers coming to M & T Bank Stadium this Sunday, the ability to prevent the big play will be one the keys to that contest for sure.
Heading into the game with the Packers, the Ravens are ranked 15th in overall defense. But as the players tell us, the best is yet to come.
Hopefully, they can back up the big talk on the field.