Teams are often known for certain qualities. The Seahawks are known for their secondary. The Giants are known for their ability to rush the passer. The Saints are known for putting up points like a video game. The Ravens have always had a stout and vocal presence on defense.
Even though defensive staples Ray Lewis and Ed Reed have ridden off in the sunset, the Ravens did a pretty decent job last year on defense, ranking in the top third of the league in most categories. They ranked particularly good against the run (11th in yards, 5th in yards per attempt) and time of possession (8th).
Not bad at all considering the injection of youth the entire defense went through last year. The defensive line is blessed with an anchor known as Haloti Ngata, one of the best nose tackles in the business. But the rest of the defensive stars in purple and black typically reside in the linebacking corps.
Chris Canty didn’t show very well in his first year as a Raven and could be in trouble at final cuts. DeAngelo Tyson is a 7th round flyer who had little in the way of college production but is a former five star recruit. Terrence Cody is coming off his second straight hip surgery and has thus far been a bust.
There are plenty of positives along the d-line as well. Second year player Brandon Williams has reportedly “looked really good” so far and is a bit of a physical specimen. Second rounder Timmy Jernigan has impressed so far as well and should make an impact as a rotational player at the very least. Brent Urban has tons of potential if he can overcome his ankle woes.
Depth is certainly not an issue and this unit as a whole looks to continue perpetuating Baltimore’s standard for defensive excellence. Augmented by a linebacker unit filled with talent and an improved offense, this year’s d-line looks like it has a great shot at improving on last year’s numbers.
How do you think this year’s defensive line will perform?