Baltimore Ravens: Pass Rush Returns to Old Form


Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs recorded his first full sack of the season against Tampa Bay, but that stat seems to have been lost among the many awesome highlights from the thrashing the Ravens put on the Bucs. And upon watching the game again (that’s just what a nerd like me with no life does), I also realized the Ravens pass rush is the best it has been in years.

Now I understand there was a time when the Ravens didn’t have to worry so much necessarily about rushing the passer when they had the greatest safety of all time and perennial ball hawk Ed Reed standing in the way of the goal line. But the proverbial weather has changed in Baltimore. They no longer have the intimidation factor of Ray Lewis, who no one wants to get hit by. They have new players. Fresh faces. New blood. This may be Joe Flacco’s team now, but the Ravens are historically and fundamentally built on defense.

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We all know the value of great pass rushers. Pass rushing leads to sacks. Sacks are lost yards for an offense, and lost yards force quarterbacks to attempt more risky big plays by stretching the field, which not many in the NFL are very effective at. And if you were the same as me, who had the Ravens defense on your fantasy football team in 2006, then you have reaped the benefits of solid pass rushing.

And that is where the Ravens need to get back to.

The Baltimore Ravens’ defense now sits just outside the top 10, ranked at number 11. Don’t let only seven sacks this season fool you, the Ravens are dialing up pressure against every quarterback they face.

Haloti Ngata has returned to his Super Bowl year splendor, combining numerous pressures with an interception of the highly touted Andrew Luck. With C.J. Mosley playing very well in zone schemes, Suggs is now relieved of much of the pressure to drop into coverage, meaning he can rush the passer more often. The combination of T-Sizzle and defensive end Elvis Dumervil make for a pass rushing duo I believe is on course for a breakout season and will emerge as one of the best in the league.

The Ravens may not have a 2000 or even a 2006 squad on their hands yet, but keep your eyes open: It’s coming. Thanks to the right player transactions and draft choices (in Ozzie we trust) and a back-to-basics approach, the Baltimore Ravens defense is slowly making its return to form. And we can thank the improved pass rush for that.