Jerome Manson is a sports enthusiast who enjoys both watching games and writing about them. When he is not cheering on his team from the stands, Jerome is blogging and creating content on http://www.selectaticket.com/Super-Bowl”
While the Baltimore Ravens are sitting pretty with a 3-1 record this year there are still concerns for fans. So far the Ravens defense has allowed an average of 390 yards per game in what is largely giving up big passing plays. Even rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden was able to put up 314 passing yards in a losing attempt against the Ravens. The Ravens Defense has been the poster child for tough and gritty defense for years now, but are they getting too long in the tooth?
Old Player’s Experience vs Physical Condition
To be clear, “old” is a term used lightly and harshly in the sporting world when players in their late thirties begin to look noticeably slower than their peers in the mid-twenties. Older players take longer to heal and recover, must work harder to stay in the same physical shape, and can be more prone to injuries, but they come with added experience that makes them formidable. The Ravens boast an immense amount of experience with players like Ed Reed and the prolific Ray Lewis, both of which will probably be inducted into the Hall of Fame after they retire. Which could be soon as Ray Lewis is in his 17th season at 37 years old and Ed Reed is in his 11th NFL season at age 34. These players, and others, give the Baltimore Ravens years of leadership that cannot be ignored.
Stopping the Pass
As mentioned above, the Ravens have struggled to develop an affective pass rush this season. This is in part, or significantly due, to the Ravens missing Terrel Suggs after he tore his Achilles tendon during the offseason. Suggs had 14 sacks last year and put added pressure on quarterbacks in the early downs. Suggs is expected to return sometime this season, but until that happens the Ravens defense needs to find a way to limit the big passing plays without the ten year veteran.
Causing the Turnovers that Matter
Even without an effective pass rush, the experienced Ravens defense is still coming up with important stops that lets them win games. Down by three against the Patriots with less than three minutes left, the Ravens rallied to stop Tom Brady with two big stops – keeping the Patriots from extending the drive, and setting up Justin Tucker to kick a game winning field goal. In the Week 4 game against the Browns the spread was a little too close for comfort until Ravens secondary, Cary Williams, intercepted a pass late in the third quarter and returned it for a touchdown which gave Baltimore a much more secure lead. While they Ravens have been making it somewhat difficult on themselves, the defense continues to rise up to the challenge and make big plays happen when they need it.
Even though the Ravens defense is not what it was ten years ago, they are still a force to be reckoned with. Baltimore has consistently been in the playoffs with a large helping hand to stellar defense that is able to limit big offenses. They will have to shape up this year though, as they are giving up too many passing yards on big plays. If Baltimore can manage that, expect another playoff run by the physical team.