Dec 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; A Baltimore Ravens fan known as “Captain Defense” holds up a sign after beating the Cleveland Browns 20-10 at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
It’s an old adage that forever holds true. “Defense wins championships.” – unknown (unless you know… then feel free to enlighten me in the comment section).
Defense and the Ravens are synonymous. Defense has been the identity of the Baltimore Ravens since the beginning of the Brian Billick era. Defense has been the catalyst to the organization’s 2 Super Bowl Championships.
The Ravens D has ranked top 10 in overall defense 12 times in their 20 seasons of play:
Year Ranking YPG
1999 2nd 263.9
2000 2nd 247.9
2001 2nd 277.9
2003 3rd 281.0
2004 6th 300.2
2005 5th 284.7
2006 1st 264.1
2007 6th 301.6
2008 2nd 261.1
2009 3rd 300.5
2010 10th 318.9
2011 3rd 288.9
Eleven men contributed significantly to these rankings. We’ve already addressed the best safeties in Ravens history and we’ll soon look at the best cornerbacks. But today, we’re focusing on the core of the defense. The front seven. Otherwise known in Baltimore as “Organized Chaos.”
From a 3-4 formation, I introduce to you the top front seven defensive players in Ravens history.
Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Fox sports reporter Tony Siragusa prior to the game with the Dallas Cowboys playing against the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
DT Tony Siragusa
“The Goose”, arrived in Baltimore with the reputation for being a very passionate, yet gritty “put your face in the dirt” type of player. As a Raven, Siragusa played 73 games and notched 5.5 sacks, 10 pass deflections, and 158 combined tackles.
Known for drawing a double team in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense, a defining moment in his Ravens career came at the expense of $10,000 for injuring Rich Gannon’s shoulder in the 2000 AFC Championship game.
Some would call that money well spent because two weeks later, “The Goose” was an intricate part of a defensive unit that allowed not a single offensive touchdown in lieu of their Super Bowl XXXV victory over the New York Giants.
Oct 12, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata (92) rushes as Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Logan Mankins (70) blocks during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
DT Haloti Ngata
A 5x Pro bowler, 5x All-Pro, and Super Bowl XLVII champion, Ngata was a dual threat in the front of the defense, often switching from defensive end to nose tackle. No matter where he lined up, it was good enough for 25.5 sacks, 30 pass deflections, 445 combined tackles, and 5 interceptions for 84 yards across 135 games played in 9 seasons.
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