This piece today about the Baltimore Ravens defense in 2013 as compared to previous years is essentially a part two of a similar offensive analysis of a couple of days ago (that can be seen HERE). Sometimes as fans we have short memories. Since last year ended with a Super Bowl Championship, and this year ended at 8-8 with a ticket to watch 12 other teams battle in the playoffs, we forget some basic facts.
The fact is that, in spite of the disappointments of this 2013 season just completed, the Ravens defense was statistically improved over the prior year. When charted, it is clear to see that the Baltimore defense “went over the cliff” last year. It was the offense and the hot hand of Joe Flacco in the playoffs that made for the memories.
And even though opponents in the season just completed scored eight more points than in 2012, the ranking of the defense improved moderately as compared to the rest of the league. To chart it …
Defensive Statistics 2008-2013
The Ravens started seven new players on defense in 2013. They allowed former players to retire or sign contracts elsewhere, and with a variety of moves brought in new personnel.
The drop in effectiveness evident in 2012 was stopped, and even a bit of bounce-back can be noted. Even though the pass defense gave up 31 more yards this season, they were able to improve by five places in NFL ranking for this category. The improvement in running defense was more dramatic – moving up nine places while giving up almost 300 yards less.
To set up the charting of differentials from year-to-year, here again is an offensive chart noting four categories: points scored, total offensive yards gained, passing yards gained, rushing yards gained.
Offensive Statistics 2008-2013
The final step is to merge the two charts and make note of the differentials. This chart repeats the seasonal record over the six years being examined, while it also gives the positive or negative differential in the four categories of points scored/allowed, total yards gained/allowed, passing yards gained/allowed, and rushing yards gained/allowed.
Offensive/Defensive Differentials 2008-2013
This last chart demonstrates what a fine year it was in 2008, but it was just as Flacco was coming upon the scene. And the eventual champion Pittsburgh Steelers were 12-4, were #1 in points (not) allowed, and were simply just a bit better by defeating the Ravens on three occasions.
But the chart also demonstrates the fact that 2013 was not a happy experience. Though the numbers here are certainly somewhat skewed by the final two games (and particularly the blowout by the Patriots), the fact remains that these are historically ugly figures.
The defense was adequate, though not great; but the offense was purely inadequate by most every measure. There is room for defensive improvement, but it is the offense that especially needs focus in this offseason – particularly on the line.
I’m thinking the Ravens’ offseason is going to look a whole lot more active than what we are seeing from the Orioles!