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ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary

One Winning Drive: Secondary's Struggles Should Have Been Expected


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In Week 1, when Brodie Croyle threw two touchdowns and manufactured back-to-back scoring drives in the air, most Ravens fans and players called it a fluke, a sign of the unit’s complacency. Now in Week 2, following Philip Rivers monster 440 yard game, some of that reassuring “it won’t happen again” mentality is fading - and many fans are wondering not if it will happen, but when it will start to affect the Ravens record.


The Ravens secondary play this season should be a big concern for the Ravens and their fans. With the exception of two interceptions against Rivers on Sunday, there has been little to get excited about. The unit has been bounced in every possible way - confused by play action, outrun on deep balls, and out of position on screens and crosses.


Here are four reasons the Ravens secondary has looked so bad - things we all should have seen coming - and how to fix it.


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Remember, most of the Ravens corners right now are cast-offs from other teams. Foxworth and Washington were both underperforming high round picks that the Ravens targeted for their speed. They are supposed to be a work in progress.


Solid point. Worrisome too.


Bad corner play is one of the worst curses a good team can have...the points can be piled up on you fast and furiously. 4th quarter leads disappear in the blink of an eye...we know...we saw thw '96 and '97 Ravens.


Remember Dwayne Starks?...not the biggest guy...it took him time to develop but he learned his role well.


Depth at corner is a concern too. I hear Rolle won't take the field unless he thinks it's safge for him to play. He faces paralysis if the doctors are wrong.


Bottom line...there is way too much talent on this defense. They should be able to make any adjustments they need to.

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Here are four reasons the Ravens secondary has looked so bad - things we all should have seen coming - and how to fix it.


View the full article


Well written, thanks.


I disagree with you here: "Haloti Ngata takes up two men all be his lonesome". I am not seeing that. What I see if he is usually handled by one man, sometimes none (it appears he often has the assignment of staying near the line of scrimmage and anticipating screens and guarding against QB scrambles). This is a major problem and we need help in this area.


Ngata is a great player but he is only mediocre with the bull rush, hence we do not collapse the pocket well (Actually, most teams in the NFL have the same issue). Pryce is tremendous, and is usually the one double teamed from what I see, but Pryce is not a classic pocket collapser. He takes his shoulder inside on the guard or tackle and uses his leverage to knife in to the vicinity of the pocket (causing the QB to move, a great help but it also leaves him usually out of his gap), but he does not bulldoze the o-line back on to the QB (like Adams had the ability to do).


If we had a player of Adams' pass rushing ability (Ngata is not that guy yet) this defense would be in the dominance range of the 00-01 defenses (IMO). We don't, so we are vulnerable to the pass (again, like most other NFL teams). I think it would be a help to have taller and equally as fast corners (like McAlister in the early part of the century), but the major problem is up front. It looks like we will have to blitz more frequently (and hence give up more big plays) to slow down the opposing passing game between the 20's this year.

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Here's the numbers from the Sun...


Ravens in retreat

The Ravens have allowed 11 pass plays of 20 or more yards this season. Here's the rundown:




Qtr Yds Where thrown Result

2nd 20 Short left End of half

4th 50 Deep right 53-yard FG

4th 24 Short middle In TD drive



Qtr Yds Where thrown Result

1st 81 Short right TD pass

1st 45 Deep right 29 FG

2nd 22 Short middle 22 FG

2nd 37 Deep right 22 FG

2nd 24 Deep right 23 FG

3rd 35 Deep left TD pass

4th 20 Deep right 25 FG

4th 38 Deep left 4th-down stop



The article has Mattison and his players saying they can correct this.

We'll see.

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I like the high power rankings the Ravens have received this week but I don't think they are accurate.



One final, sobering thought on the Ravens pass defense...


It's a fine line between winning and losing in the NFL and the Ravensw are on that edge.

Consider this: The Titans are last in the NFL in pass defense, they're second against the run allowing just 49.5 yards per game. The Ravens are 28th in pass defense, 1st against the run allowing just 41 yards per game


The Titans are 0-2.

The Ravens are 2-0.


If the pass defense doesn't get tightened up soon, then this season could go in the tank in a hurry.

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The comparison is interesting... but the Ravens have had far more success on offense than the Titans, which is a big part of it as well. Granted, they played the Steelers... but there were opportunities there they missed.


The Ravens are a pretty complete team. That's not something we've said often.

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