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Ravens D

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D for Decimated....


......It surrendered a game-winning drive to Pittsburgh two weeks ago and game-tying drive in Washington Sunday.

But how much of that is because of injuries?


Three examples from Sunday’s game in Washington illustrate how the Ravens are hurting.


As the Washington Redskins were driving down the field for the potential game-tying score, they faced a third-and-5 from the Ravens’ 11-yard line. Rookie backup quarterback Kirk Cousins took the snap and rolled to his right.


Johnson, who the Ravens signed off the street just three weeks earlier, was covering the Redskins’ top receiver, Pierre Garcon, because two of Baltimore’s top cornerbacks, Lardarius Webbicon-article-link.gif (knee) and Jimmy Smithicon-article-link.gif (sports hernia), are out.


Johnson jumped the route thinking the Redskins were trying to pick up the first down and that he had help behind him. He didn’t. He was beat by Garcon for an easy 11-yard touchdown pass.


“I’ve played the same defense in Oakland where we did have help over the top,” Johnson said. “It’s the same call, but they play it different in different places. I should have asked before that play what was going on, but I was expecting the same type of coverage.”

....Bynes, a first-year player in his eighth career game, was wearing the mic’d up helmet and communicating the play calls to the rest of the defense for the first time in his NFL career. He and Ayanbadejo were in the game because Ray Lewisicon-article-link.gif (triceps), Jameel McClainicon-article-link.gif (neck) and Dannell Ellerbeicon-article-link.gif (ankle) were all out.


...The defense’s injuries even carried over to special teams. On the Redskins’ game-breaking, 64-yard punt return, Bynes, Ayanbadejo and linebacker Albert McClellanicon-article-link.gif, who was also seeing more snaps than usual, were right back out on the coverage unit.


Earlier this year, when the defense had fewer injuries and was getting gashed by opposing running games, Pees shuffled players into different positions to help maximize their individual skills.


For example, he sometimes slid rookie outside linebacker Courtney Upshawicon-article-link.gif to defensive tackle. Pees used different formations, like a 4-3 defense, and even five linebackers at a time.


That’s no longer an option.


“We’ve tried to put guys in positions and try to ask them to do things they can do and don’t ask them to do things they can’t do. Sometimes, that limits you,” Pees said.


“All of the sudden, those packages have now shrunk because we don’t have guys to put in that package, so that package is out.”


Pees said not having certain packages hurt them in the last two games on the final drives.


“We’re wanting to maybe do some things that we maybe either can’t do,” he said. “Or if we do call something, it’s really probably the first time that guy has had to actually do it in a game situation, and it didn’t turn out so well.”



I'm going to cheer them on Sunday. Hurting or not, they're "our guys" and they'll show up and give their best.

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