The Ravens have raced out to a franchising tying best start with a 5-2 record, enough to lead the AFC North. Everything hasn’t gone as planned for the Ravens, they have had some pleasant surprises along the way, but they have also had some major let downs.
Where do you start with the defense? The biggest disappointment, to me, is the complete and utter lack of a pass rush. The Ravens have been among the worst in the league in Sacks, Pressures and Hurries basically from week one of the season. Most notably, Paul Kruger has been a massive disappointment. He has failed to step up into his role and barring a huge reversal in his level of play, I would expect him to not be re-signed at the end of the season. The lack of pressure opened the flood gates for the Secondary to underperform because they aren’t capable of guarding WRs for 5-7 second at a time(no secondary is). Once teams were able to get the Raven on their heels by passing at will, which forced the Ravens to play nickel and dime packages almost exclusively, teams started to run the ball. And boy did they run. The Ravens allowed back to back 200+ yard rushing games by their opponents(a franchise first) and capped that off by being picked apart by a balanced Houston attack. The defense has suffered some injuries, but there is no excuse for this level of play.
Through the first 4 weeks of the NFL season, the Ravens were completely healthy and looking good. The only injury was the Suggs injury, but that was months in the past. They actually had one injury report with only one notable player(Jah Reid) listed. Week 5 saw a bit of a hitch with a couple of minor dings and the announcement that Ed Reed was playing with a torn Labrum in his shoulder, but still, they were relatively Healthy. Then the wheels fell off. They lost Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb for the season, and Haloti Ngata has an injury, the extent of which is still unclear. Unfortunately all these injuries have depleted the defense and seem to have taken some of the life out of the team. Lets hope the Ravens use their bye to get back on track.
Offensive Line Play
The Ravens OL has been struggling mightily the last three games. aside from Kelechi Osemele(who has only surrendered one hurry and 2 hits or sacks in the past 2 games), the entire group has been pedestrian at the best of times and a revolving door for defensive lineman to casually stroll through at the worst of times. The height of the mediocrity came last week in Houston where Joe Flacco was pressured mercilessly. the line only gave up a few sacks, but Flacco was hit or hurried on all but 4 drop backs. That is a completely inexcusable number and the Ravens must improve on that if they hope to keep winning moving forward.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens